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Mark Zuckerberg has refused to appear before the UK parliament

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declined a request to appear before a parliamentary inquiry into fake news in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The social media giant’s founder has instead “personally asked one of his deputies” to attend in his place, the company’s head of public policy stated in a letter to the inquiry’s chair Damian Collins.

The firm has suggested it will send its chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, or its chief product officer, Chris Cox. Both “report directly to Mr Zuckerberg” and have “extensive expertise in these areas”, the letter stated.

Collins, however, is still calling for Zuckerberg to appear before the committee: “We believe, given the serious nature of the allegations that have been made around the access and use of Facebook user data, that it is appropriate that Mark Zuckerberg should give evidence to the committee.

“He has suggested that Chris Cox, the chief product officer at Facebook, could come to London to give evidence to the committee in the first week after the Easter recess. So we would be very happy to invite Mr Cox to give evidence. However, we would still like to hear from Mr Zuckerberg as well.

“We will seek to clarify from Facebook whether he is available to give evidence or not, because that wasn’t clear from our correspondence. If he is available to give evidence then we would be happy to do that either in person or by video link, if that would be more convenient for him.”

The session is due to take place after the house returns from the Easter parliamentary recess on 16 April.