Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is slated to visit Brussels in mid-February, meeting with European Union (EU) officials as the social media giant fends off antitrust and privacy scrutiny over how it handles user data.
Zuckerberg’s trip to the EU capital follows a recent visit by Alphabet Inc’s chief Sundar Pichai and comes as the EU is due to unveil its plans to regulate artificial intelligence several days later. Facebook CEO is stopping by Brussels on his way to the Munich Security Conference.
Zuckerberg will meet with “European decision-makers in Brussels to discuss a framework for new rules and regulation for internet,” Facebook said.
The Belgian capital has for years been at the forefront of regulating large US tech companies, with strict competition enforcement and its flagship privacy rules, the General Data Protection Regulation, which entered into force in 2018.
Facebook currently faces a slew of probes by national data protection regulators. At the same time, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, is looking into possible antitrust issues around how the company collects user data and has criticized the social media giant’s handling of the spread of disinformation on its platform.
The commission is also gearing up to overhaul liability rules for platforms, with a proposal due to be unveiled by the end of the year. The rules could result in more legal responsibility for any hate speech or other illegal content users post to sites like Facebook, potentially leading to fines for companies that fail to remove the posts.
Zuckerberg visited Brussels in 2018 when he spoke to EU lawmakers in a hearing in the European Parliament, where he apologized for the company’s privacy failures and that it didn’t take a broad enough view of its responsibility for fake news and foreign interference in elections.
Facebook over the past year has called on regulators around the world to agree on standards governing online content — and to prevent a patchwork of different measures that make it difficult for international companies to comply. In a blog post last March, Zuckerberg recommended overarching rules on hateful and violent content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.