An international “fake news” committee is set to hold hearings on May 28 in Canada, and
plans to include will “demand” testimony from a who’s who of powerful internet and social media giant CEO’s. The list of invitees includes Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, Apple CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams, and WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton, according a list obtained by CBS News.
If the formal name for the initiative — the “International Grand Committee” (or rather the fuller version, the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News) — isn’t creepy or Orwellian sounding enough, the group which also includes lawmakers from various countries around the world, will spotlight “foreign influence in our democracies” (read: Russia, Russia, Russia!) according to an official press release.
Specific issues that are near and dear to the western elite establishment’s heart to be investigated include: “foreign meddling” in the election of Donald Trump and advertising campaigns surrounding Brexit.
The CBS report announcing the news sounds like The Onion, as essentially something calling itself a “Grand Committee” stacked with international government officials thinks transparency, objectivity, accuracy and truth will be best represented by the Jeff Bezos’s, Eric Schmidt’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world! Though the committee brands itself as “adversarial,” we don’t expect much to come of powerful government elites “grilling” powerful corporate elites.
The “Grand Committee” has in the past attempted to gain some PR mileage by “shaming” Zuckerberg for refusing to participate in an initial inquiry in November which was sponsored by British Parliament.
24 official representatives.
447 million people represented.
One question: where is Mark Zuckerberg? pic.twitter.com/BK3KrKvQf3
— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsCMS) November 27, 2018
And it’s being held in a country which, it should be remembered, recently criminalized as a potential hate crime the refusal to conform to an individual’s “preferred personal pronoun” through Canada’s 2017 Bill C-16.
Noting that the committee will “demand” the appearance of the list of internet giant company heads, CBS reports: “The list, which was confirmed to CBS News by the committee’s co-chair, Canadian Member of Parliament Bob Zimmer, includes several of the world’s wealthiest people, who control the most dominant companies in computing and social media.”
A full report from the committee’s initial UK hearing is expected to be published within the next week. Predictably, it looks to go in the direction of impugning conservative and contrarian populist movements such as Brexit and the rise of Trump. CBS describes of the forthcoming findings:
It has sought to shine light on the use of intimate personality datasets on more than 80 million people as part of advertising campaigns surrounding the “Brexit” campaign and Donald Trump’s presidential run. The campaigns were run by a British company called SCL Elections, its American affiliate Cambridge Analytica, and a Canadian company called Aggregate IQ.
The committee’s first hearing on which the report is based was last year on Nov. 27, and a number of the big names were no shows, for example Facebook sent company vice president for public policy Richard Allan, and not Zuckerberg.
US lawmakers are also expected to be invited to the May 28 hearings in Canada, which will tackle “holding digital platforms to account… foreign influence in our democracies, and data as a human right,” according to a prior February press release.
However, we doubt Putin or any Russian representatives will be invited to observe the hearings.