Canadian lawmakers have unanimously voted to issue subpoenas compelling testimony by Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Zuckerberg will testify at a Canadian parliamentary committee after accusations surfaced that the social media company violated Canadian privacy laws, Bloomberg reports. On Tuesday, Canada’s Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics issued the summons in a closed-door meeting.
The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada, Daniel Therrien, explained a month ago that Facebook committed, "serious contraventions" of Canadian law, citing the Cambridge Analytica controversy. Zuckerberg and Sandberg are set to appear in court at an undetermined date.
According to CNET, Zuckerberg and Sandberg were invited to Ottawa to appear before the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and "Fake News" in late May. However, neither of the Facebook executives responded.
Zuckerberg also reportedly disregarded calls to address a Canadian committee investigating election meddling and disinformation on Facebook. CNET reported that the subpoena can only be enforced if Zuckerberg and Sandberg enter into Canada.
Bob Zimmer, chair of Canada's Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics states, "We're hoping this shows them we're serious", reports CNET.
If Zuckerberg and Sandberg refuse to respond to the subpoena or to appear before the committee, the committee will "submit to the full Parliament a motion to hold them in contempt," Zimmer explained.
Lawmaker Charlie Angus commented in an email on Wednesday, “This is a highly unusual step to take but Facebook’s disregard for the rights of Canadian citizens and the recent finding of the Privacy Commissioner that Facebook broke Canadian law has necessitated our decision.”
Angus is responsible for initiating the motion to summon the executives. “We will see if they are willing to respect the Parliament of Canada and the presence of legislators from around the world.”
Facebook has not yet released a comment in response to the summons.