Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of leading lawmakers of the European Union on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg apologized for allowing third parties to access and misuse the personal information of millions of Facebook users.
'We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility and that was a mistake. And I am sorry for it,” Zuckerberg told members of the European Parliament in Brussels, echoing an apology he made in front of the United States Congress during hearings in April.
Zuckerberg was sharply criticized by some EU legislators, with Manfred Weber, a member of the European Parliament from Germany, suggesting that Facebook is too large and should be broken up into smaller companies.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, is not a monopoly, said Zuckerberg, adding that he felt “like there are new competitors coming up every day”.
The social media service was roundly criticized earlier this year after it became widely publicized that political consultant firm Cambridge Analytica accessed the personal data of some 87 million Facebook users without their consent.
Although the data firm was working on behalf of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, it was able to sweep up information on about 2.7 million European residents too, according to statements from the European Commission.
Many of the lawmakers voiced annoyance at the format of the 80-minute meeting, which was set up so all the members asked questions first and Zuckerberg selectively answered questions at the end.
“Today's pre-cooked format was inappropriate and ensured Zuckerberg could avoid our questions,” Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament from Belgium, said on Twitter following the meeting.
“I trust that written answers from Facebook will be forthcoming. If these are not accurately answered in detail, the EU competition authorities must be activated and legislation sharpened.”
By Barry Eitel in San Francisco