Malcolm Turnbull has thrown his support behind a push to get Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to answer questions over the social network sharing personal user data with Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Senior members of the federal parliament’s powerful intelligence committee want the 34-year-old Facebook tsar to answer questions about the controversial data deal.
“I would welcome Facebook coming and testifying before our parliamentary committee,” the prime minister told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
“Of course, we’d love to see the boss, naturally, he is the founder.”
Labor MP Anthony Byrne, deputy chair of the joint intelligence and security committee, said Mr Zuckerberg owed Australia’s 15 million Facebook users some answers.
“It is completely unacceptable that information from Facebook users has been slyly handed over to Huawei by Facebook,” Mr Byrne said.
“I want to know why Mr Zuckerberg allowed this to happen.
Mr Bryne said if needed, the billionaire would be invited to explain himself to Australians in a public hearing.
He has the support of Liberal committee chairman Andrew Hastie.
Liberal frontbencher Zed Seselja said companies must not put profits ahead of protecting its users’ data.
“Where companies look to do deals, where they give away personal information, where they sell personal information, obviously they need to be held accountable for that,” he told Sky News.
“I think Australians who are using Facebook and other social media would hope that some of their data can be protected, so Facebook has a responsibility to do that.”
Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the problem is broader than Facebook.
He wants the federal parliament to legislate tougher European-style protections for Australians’ data.
“We need laws in this country that make sure that information which is private is kept private,” Senator Di Natale told Sky News.
Labor’s Jenny McAllister said the data deal raises issues about how Facebook operates, adding the company had been “quite negligent” in describing to consumers what was happening to their data.