Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, is leading an inquiry into so-called "fake news." In his letter, Collins said Facebook had been “misleading” over how vulnerable users’ data was being used “without their consent.”
"The Committee has repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from from their site, and in particular about whether data had been taken without their consent," Collins said in the letter. "Your officials' answers have consistently understated this risk, and have been misleading to the Committee."
Zuckerberg has never appeared before Congress or the British Parliament, though other Facebook representatives have.
"It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process," the letter read. "There is a strong public interest test regarding user protection.
"Accordingly, we are sure you will understand the need for a representative from right at the top of the organization to address concerns," the letter went on. "Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to 'fixing' Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you."
The request for Zuckerberg to answer questions about data users comes after revelations by former employee Christopher Wylie that Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to build psychological profiles for up to 50 million Americans without their consent. This data were obtained after users completed personality tests under the guise that it was for academic use, Wylie says.
Cambridge Analytica, however, used the data to target users with personality-based ads, Wylie has said. Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform as it investigates reports that the firm kept user records for years after saying it had destroyed them.
Cambridge Analytica has said it complied with Facebook’s rules.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment, and Mark Zuckerberg has not yet made any public statements on any of the allegations surrounding Cambridge Analytica.