- UK lawmaker Damian Collins said on Tuesday that he intends to publish internal Facebook documents his committee on fake news has seized.
- Collins’ committee secured the documents from Ted Kramer, the founder of a software company who himself obtained the documents by suing Facebook in California.
- Collins said the committee is still going through the papers and deciding which documents are in the public interest, but confirmed they would be published “within the next week or so.”
British lawmaker Damian Collins said on Tuesday that he plans to publish “within the next week” documents, which could contain potentially explosive revelations about Facebook’s approach to privacy.
Collins – the Conservative politician leading a UK parliamentary investigation into fake news – last week seized a cache of highly sensitive Facebook papers from Ted Kramer, the founder of a software company who himself obtained the documents by suing Facebook in California.
Kramer was compelled under a UK parliamentary mechanism to hand over the evidence to Collins on a visit to London last week. After initially refusing, he was escorted to Parliament, where he was told he could face a fine or imprisonment if he failed to produce the documents.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Collins was asked if he would release the documents after going to such extraordinary lengths to obtain them. He said his Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee would publish information it deemed to be in the public interest.
“We believe we should publish this material,” he said, but added that the committee needs to make sure only documents that are in the public interest are published, saying it won’t “open source the whole lot.”
“We’re not yet ready to do that because of the large quantity of them,” he added, but he confirmed that the committee would publish them, “certainly within the next week or so.”
Collins also said that he is urging Facebook to stop blocking the documents from being unsealed in a California court.
Details from the seized documents were referred to in a fiery International Grand Committee hearing chaired by Collins on Tuesday, with representatives from nine countries present.
These included the revelation that a Facebook engineer warned of Russian interference on the platform posing a security threat as early as 2014. Facebook later said it investigated the warning and “found no evidence of specific Russian activity.”
Facebook’s policy chief Richard Allan was grilled during the hearing. He sought to portray details from the documents as partial information obtained by a “hostile litigant.”