A few weeks ago, in the month of May 2019, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg were each issued a summons by Canada’s parliament, the federal legislative body of the country. They were both asked to be present at today’s parliament hearing in Ottawa, just above the top of upstate New York, though neither of them was in attendance.
Although both of them are United States citizens and do not live in Canada, they could both soon be found in contempt of parliament, something that hasn’t happened in the country since 1913.
Rather than going themselves, the two executives issued instructions to two of Facebook’s leading figures on the platform’s public policy group to be present at the Ottawa-based parliamentary hearing.
The reason that the Canadian parliament summoned Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg are because, along with members of a few other countries’ governments, they wanted to ascertain major tech companies’ collective blow to true democracy and privacy.
Lawmakers felt that Mark Zuckerberg would, in fact, be there after he wrote in a piece opposite the editorial page that was published in the Washington Post back in March, just two months ago.
Zuckerberg and Sandberg were only legally required to appear in front of United States Congress to testify regarding privacy issues at Facebook, which they both did because they are citizens of the United States and live here. As long as the duo doesn’t travel to Canada, they won’t face the risk of potentially getting arrested and even punished with jail time.
Members of the Canadian parliament were seemingly mad as a direct result of being left in the dark by Zuckerberg and Sandberg alike regarding whether they were going to make it earlier today or not, as they ended up finding out through CNN that the two executives wouldn’t be there to testify.
Reps from Twitter and Google, two other Silicon Valley tech giants, were there at the Canadian parliamentary committee meeting, though neither of them was required to send executives or representatives from their organizations – only Facebook was asked to do so.
Kevin Chan and Neil Potts were the two public policy team members who were there today. Respectively, they work as Facebook Canada’s public policy head and its public policy director.
Although nobody knows whether the CEO and COO of Facebook will be held in Canadian contempt, though Canadian legislators do not believe that will happen.