Hancock vows ‘social media companies are not above the law’ after Facebook meeting

Culture secretary talks to executives from embattled internet firm in London in ‘robust but constructive’ meeting

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Matt Hancock has warned Facebook it is “not above the law” and could face stricter regulation, following a meeting with representatives of the social media giant.

The culture secretary (pictured above) pressed for evidence that users’ data was no longer at risk of ending up in the wrong hands in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. He met with the company’s US-based vice-president of global policy management, Monika Bickert, and global deputy chief privacy officer, Stephen Deadman at a meeting in London.

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Officials described the meeting as “robust but constructive”, and said Hancock had vowed to “hold their feet to the fire”.

In a statement afterwards, he said: “Social media companies are not above the law and will not be allowed to shirk their responsibilities to our citizens. We will do what is needed to ensure that people’s data is protected and don’t rule anything out – that includes further regulation in the future.”

The talks came as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave evidence for a second day to US politicians in Washington. His comments come amid wider government pressure on social media companies, including a call from home secretary Amber Rudd called for them to step up in the fight against gang violence.

Sam Trendall

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