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UK seeks 'urgent clarification' on details of Facebook scandal

The U.K. parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is seeking "urgent clarification" from Facebook Inc. regarding details about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's complaint against Facebook "directly contradicts" evidence that representatives of the social media company presented in hearings with the U.K. government in 2018, committee Chair Damian Collins wrote in a letter to Facebook global affairs and communications Vice President Nick Clegg.

Specifically, the committee wants to know whether Facebook employees were aware of the Cambridge Analytica scandal months before it was revealed by The Guardian, as raised by the SEC in a July complaint.

The British committee is calling for a response to "whether the SEC complaint is accurate and that employees did raise concerns about Cambridge Analytica before December 2015 and how these discrepancies in evidence have occurred," Collins said in the letter.

Facebook Chief Technical Officer Mike Schroepfer and Vice President of Policy Solutions Richard Allan said during 2018 U.K. hearings that they first learned about the aggregation of user data through The Guardian's report.

The committee wants an explanation for the lack of knowledge of senior executives, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, had about the incident.

"We believe this to be particularly egregious given that we have been told that these issues should have been reported through senior management and that the buck ultimately stops with Mr. Zuckerberg himself," Collins said in the letter.

The parliamentary committee is requesting responses by Aug. 12.

Earlier in July, the DCMS had also sent a letter to Clegg requesting clarification on inconsistencies between oral evidence Facebook presented to the U.K.'s Select Committee and the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and the social media company's response to the Washington, D.C. Attorney General. DCMS said Facebook representatives had admitted knowledge of other third-party platforms' violation of policies, which was different from the social media company's statement to the U.S.