British Parliament seizes internal Facebook documents by threatening to jail a rival exec

FB can do what? Not send Zuck to London? That’s 100% likely and happening every day.

PARLIAMENT can ban Facebook in the UK if they like. Facebook doesn’t have to do anything.

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So I don’t like laws that allow authorities to seize your stuff without a proper process, but I’d like to separate this from that. It’s one thing when every civil servant you meet has the power to do warrantless searches of everything they see. It’s another when parliament dispatches a sergeant at arms to get you.

Parliament and some of its committees have the legal authority to hold a person in contempt and to fine or imprison them. The process of having parliamentarians examine an issue and vote on it is due process. If it wasn’t then no laws would be valid.


FB can tell Parliament to get bent, of course, and/or stop serving the UK. Not going to happen; no, FB’s shareholders aren’t going to appreciate FB pissing off and/or losing an entire market, of course.

Attempting the hardass play, when you cannot back up your bullshit, is a mistake.


The part that strikes me as very strange about this is how did they find out, not only that this guy was in England, but that he had the documents on his laptop? Sounds like maybe someone tipped them off, but who would have known to tip them off except the guy himself, looking for a way to get around the sealing order without getting in trouble?


There is a room in th Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament called ‘the Prison Room’ because it has been used to detail people. Parliament officially has the power of arrest and detention in order that people can be brought in front of the Commons. The power has not been used for more than a century but it has never been repealed.


Parliament should tell Zuckerberg he can come and collect the documents - in person of course.


I’m thinking that finding out if some high officials in your country have committed treason would be more compelling than the order of a fairly low level court from a foreign country ruled by traitors aligned with the set of trainers you’re trying to root out.

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If you’re suggesting that Zuckerberg is not showing up before European courts because of some moral sense of American independence, I will point you to all the evidence that suggests he has zero moral code at all. He’s not showing up because he believes he doesn’t have to, and because keeping a buffer between himself and the rotten core of his business helps maintain plausible deniability.

If you’re suggesting that you believe American companies have every right to tell the governments of countries in which they do business to ‘GFT’ just because there was a war for independence hundreds of years ago, I don’t really know where to start on that kind of exceptionalism. Find me a country that HASN’T fought to win or retain its independence at some point in its history.


See Oz and NZ. The Maori and Australian Aboriginals fought, but they lost. The white settler colonies departed the Empire peacefully.


… thus both falling under the description of countries that have fought to retain their independence, no?


For added effect, the Prison Room should be located directly below the bell chamber holding Big Ben. Now that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

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Depends upon how you look at it; some indigenous activists would object to the implication of their nations being synonymous with the current settler colony state, because they don’t recognise the legitimacy of that state. “We are Arrente people, from the centre of so-called Australia” etc.

The indigenous people fought for independence, the nation-state of Australia did not.


Not sure how FB can ask Parliament to cooperate with them, given that Zuckerberg refuses to cooperate with Parliament

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The second the UK government announces plans to block Facebook, I guarantee you the shareholders will force Zuckerburg out and send someone over to be raked over the coals within hours. I’ve worked with PR firms who specialize in social media manipulcoughoptimization, Facebook makes way too much from the UK market to allow some jumped-up little shit who hasn’t yet realized who’s in charge to lose it for them.

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I find it hard to imagine parliament blocking Facebook outright; it will make them unpopular and turn them into the bad guys. But they have already demonstrated that they are quite capable of imposing fines and restrictions; and they can continue to up the ante by releasing damning statements to the press about Facebook’s behaviour and do further damage to FB’s reputation over here. There’s an insufferable arrogance to Zuckerberg and Sandberg that is continuing to cost them real money, to which I say ‘fine by me’.

Anecdotally, the British public and press seem fairly united on this issue, at a time when they are very divided on almost everything else.

I take your point.

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Well, they COULD send the insufferably smug ex-LibDem leader (and ex-Deputy Prime Minister) Sir Nick Clegg (Facebook’s new VP Global Affairs and Communications) to appear before the Parliamentary Committee. That WOULD be fun. They could probably sell tickets.

I wonder what his advice has been re Zuckface appearing, since he took up his new role? “Build bridges, Mark, build bridges.”

ETA Actually, it would be almost as funny if the Committee were to actually summon Clegg by name.


See also: Canada.


I just have to point out that a member of the bad state actors club like china ghosting your laptop upon a business visit is not equal to the UK stealing Facebook information after Facebook contributed to fueling Brexit and fucking up the US election. In other words, Karma.