Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg will attend a behind-closed-doors session at the European parliament, possibly as early as next week.
He will also meet with French president Emmanuel Macron – news that will be especially bitter for UK MPs, with whom Zuckerberg is still refusing to meet.
“The founder and CEO of Facebook has accepted our invitation and will be in Brussels as soon as possible, hopefully already next week,” European parliament president Antonio Tajani said.
“Our citizens deserve a full and detailed explanation. I welcome Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to appear in person before the representatives of 500 million Europeans.”
Macron, meanwhile, has said that he will hold “very frank” discussions on all subjects.
The news that none of these discussions will be held in public has angered some onlookers, with Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt saying: “I will not attend the meeting with Mr Zuckerberg if it’s held behind closed doors. It must be a public hearing – why not a Facebook Live? I strongly regret that the @EPPGroup has colluded with extreme right to keep everything behind closed doors.”
The meeting comes ahead of the enforcement of new European data protection regulations coming into force on May 25th.
Just this week Facebook confirmed that Zuckerberg “has no plans to travel to the UK”, despite repeated requests from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee for a meeting.
Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer testified in parliament last month, although MPs have said that this alone is not sufficient.
“Mark Zuckerberg's right-hand man, whom we were assured could represent his views, today failed to answer many specific and detailed questions about Facebook's business practices,” committee chair Damian Collins said at the time.
“There are over 40 million Facebook users in the UK and they deserve to hear answers from Mark Zuckerberg about the company he created and whether it is able to keep its users' data safe.”