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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Is Finally Meeting with a U.K. Lawmaker as Regulation Looms

February 21, 2019, 10:39 AM UTC

Mark Zuckerberg managed to seriously anger British lawmakers by refusing to meet with them as they were investigating disinformation on Facebook. So this week they produced a report calling Facebook “digital gangsters” and urging the government to hit the company hard with its regulatory hammer.

Now Zuckerberg’s listening. At least, for half an hour.

British Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, whose ministry has responsibility for such issues, will have an audience with Zuckerberg at Facebook’s Californian headquarters on Thursday. According to the BBC, Wright will get 30 minutes of Zuckerberg’s time.

As reported by the Guardian, the government appears less interested in Facebook’s role in spreading disinformation than it is in the dissemination of content that may be harmful to children—though Wright does apparently have questions about “fake news” too.

“I look forward to meeting Mr. Zuckerberg to discuss what more Facebook can do to help keep people safe on their platforms, as we prepare a new regulatory framework that will reinforce Facebook’s and other tech firms’ responsibility to keep us safe,” said Wright.

Wright isn’t just meeting with the Facebook CEO; he’s also been talking to companies such as Google, Twitter, Apple and Tinder. With the British government set to release proposals for new tech legislation in the coming weeks, the culture secretary told the BBC that “there’s good reason for these companies [be it] Facebook or any other to engage with us at this stage.”

The broadcaster reported that Facebook’s new chief spin doctor, Nick Clegg, will not be at the meeting. Clegg, the former leader of the U.K.’s Liberal Democrats, served as deputy prime minister in a coalition government led by Wright’s Conservative Party.

Wright is reportedly not keen on Clegg’s desire to create “co-regulation” with governments—a tack repeated in Facebook’s somewhat tone-deaf response to the “digital gangsters” report, in which the company said it was “open to meaningful regulation.”