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Zuckerberg to meet UK culture secretary amid 'digital gangster' report

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK

Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg will meet UK culture secretary Jeremy Wright at the social network’s headquarters in California on Thursday, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport confirmed to Yahoo Finance UK. 

It also confirmed that Wright and Zuckerberg will “be discussing the [UK] government’s forthcoming plans to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.”

“The British public have legitimate concerns about their safety and security online and, as a responsible government, we are taking action,” said DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright in a statement sent to Yahoo Finance UK.

“The era of self regulation is coming to an end but I still want to see innovative solutions on online harms being put forward by the industry.

“I look forward to meeting Mr Zuckerberg to discuss what more Facebook can do to help keep people safe on their platforms, as we prepare a new regulatory framework that will reinforce Facebook’s and other tech firms’ responsibility to keep us safe.”

The meeting is part of a series Wright and Digital Minister Margot James are conducting this week. They will be also meeting with executives from Twitter (TWTR), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Youtube, Snap (SNAP), and Tinder (MTCH) on the West Coast of the US.

Mark Zuckerberg during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington DC. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

The BBC originally reported that Zuckerberg was to meet Wright today.

The meeting comes just days after the UK government’s influential media committee published a damning report about Facebook and other tech firms like Google, demanding tougher regulation in place to prevent them from acting like “digital gangsters” and intentionally violating data privacy and competition laws.

The report also suggested that an independent regulator should be set up to oversee a mandatory code of ethics to better control harmful or illegal content. The committee also called out Zuckerberg’s reluctance to meet with lawmakers. Zuckerberg has declined a number of invitations to appear before the media committee, which has sparked protests outside parliament.

READ MORE: ‘Digital gangsters’: UK wants tougher rules for Facebook

Meanwhile, Facebook faces headwinds from the UK government over taxes.

In October last year, Britain’s chancellor Philip Hammond announced a new “digital services tax” that is expected to target tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon (AMZN). The new tax is expected to come into force in 2020.

“It is only right that these global giants, which are profitable in the UK, pay their fair share in supporting our public services,” Hammond said when announcing the new 2% tax, without naming any specific businesses.

READ MORE: UK announces ‘groundbreaking’ new ‘Facebook tax’ to raise £400m