OTTAWA – Canadian lawmakers voted Tuesday to serve a summons on Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg that would compel them to appear before them the next time either visits Canada.
The decision came after Zuckerberg and Sandberg failed to appear before the international grand committee on big data, privacy and democracy, which is being hosted by Canada's parliament this week, despite being called on to testify. The panel of international politicians is examining the role of tech giants in safeguarding privacy and democratic rights.
New Democratic party lawmaker Charlie Angus said Tuesday the Facebook executives were showing disrespect to legislators around the world.
"Facebook has serious responsibilities in terms of the misuse of the platform that has led to mass killings in Myanmar, the undermining of electoral systems around the world, the attack on private rights and citizen rights," Angus said.
Conservative lawmaker Bob Zimmer said if the Facebook executives refuse to appear, they will be held in contempt. It was not clear exactly what consequences that might have.
"As soon as they step foot — either Mr. Zuckerberg or Ms. Sandberg — into our country they will be served and expected to appear before our committee," said Zimmer.
The committee set up two chairs at a table with the pair's names on cards. The chairs sat empty.
Kevin Chan and Neil Potts, two of Facebook's global policy directors, did appear.