Zuckerberg Set To Meet UK Culture Secretary

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport confirmed that Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is scheduled to meet Jeremy Wright, the UK culture secretary, at the headquarters of the social media giant in California Today,

It also confirmed that Zuckerberg and Wright will “be discussing the [UK] government’s forthcoming plans to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.”

In a statement, Jeremy Wright, the DCMS Secretary of State, stated: “The British public have legitimate concerns about their safety and security online and, as a responsible government, we are taking action.”

He continued: “The era of self-regulation is coming to an end but I still want to see innovative solutions on online harms being put forward by the industry.”

He added: “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.”

The meeting is part of a series that Wright and Margot James, the Digital Minister, are conducting this week. They will be also meeting with executives from Apple, Twitter, Youtube, Google, Tinder, and Snap on the West Coast of the US.

The meeting comes days after the influential media committee of the UK government published a damning report about Facebook and other tech companies such as Google, demanding stricter regulation in place to prevent them from acting like “digital gangsters” and intentionally violating data privacy and competition laws.

The report also implied that an independent regulator should be established to oversee a mandatory code of ethics to better control illegal or harmful content. The committee also called out the reluctance of Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers. The Facebook CEO has declined a number of invitations to appear before the media committee, which has provoked protests outside parliament.

Meanwhile, Facebook faces headwinds from the British government over taxes.

Last October, Philip Hammond, the British chancellor, announced a new “digital services tax” that is anticipated to target tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The new tax is expected to come into force next year.