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Russian Senators Call on Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Testify on Privacy

Mark Zuckerberg (Anthony Quintano / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Russian senators have called on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to provide expert testimony on privacy, weeks after the tech giant founder spoke to U.S. and European lawmakers on regulating social networks.

The world’s largest social media network has come under fire for a breach that allowed the Cambridge Analytica political consultancy company to exploit 87 million U.S. and European users’ data without their permission. Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor has had Facebook in its crosshairs since last year for failing to comply with a 2015 law requiring tech firms to store Russian citizens’ personal data on local servers.

“I’ll issue an order. We’ll try to organize his arrival,” Speaker Valentina Matvienko said Wednesday in response to a senator's proposal to summon Zuckerberg to the Federation Council.

Senator Anton Belyakov drew on Putin’s calls to “digitize the economy” in offering to invite Zuckerberg to the Russian upper chamber of parliament and offer his views.

“After all, he spoke about information security, not giving access to personal data, preventing the dissemination of harmful content,” Belyakov said, referring to Zuckerberg’s recent testimonies to the U.S. Congress and European Parliament.

Speaker Matvienko brushed aside a Crimean senator’s claim that Zuckerberg should not be invited because he is Russophobic by saying: “We have to meet with Russophobes too.”

“Why shouldn't the Federation Council enter into dialogue and ask him about his Russophobic statements? [...] We have something to say, we have something to respond with,” she said.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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