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By Natalia Drozdiak
BRUSSELS -- Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to visit Brussels to meet with top European lawmakers to discuss the social network's handling of its users' personal information, both the European Parliament and the company said Wednesday.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said the parliament would organize a hearing to give lawmakers the opportunity to carry out an in-depth analysis relating to the company's data-protection policies and its potential impact on elections in Europe. The hearing won't be open to the public, an EU official said.
Mr. Zuckerberg will meet with leaders of different political groups during his visit, which could take place as soon as next week, Mr. Tajani said.
In a statement, Facebook said it accepted the European Parliament's proposal to meet with parliament leaders. It added: "We ... appreciate the opportunity for dialogue, to listen to their views and show the steps we are taking to better protect people's privacy."
Facebook came under fire earlier this year following revelations that the social network allowed personal information of as many as 87 million users to be obtained by data-analytics company Cambridge Analytica. Facebook also has faced heat over interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by Russian operatives using the social network.
Ahead of European Parliament elections in 2019, the EU has been pushing platforms to do more to halt the spread of misinformation or "fake news, " on their sites, or face possible regulation.
A trip by Mr. Zuckerberg next week would coincide with the bloc's sweeping new privacy laws, which enter into force next Friday, May 25. Facebook has said it would implement those new privacy controls world-wide.
European lawmakers have stepped up calls for Mr. Zuckerberg to testify in Brussels about the Cambridge revelations after he spoke before U.S. lawmakers in mid-April.
In the U.K., a British parliamentary committee requested Mr. Zuckerberg testify about Facebook's handling of user data or face a formal summons. Facebook has said Mr. Zuckerberg had no plans to go to the U.K. The company sent a top executive to testify before the committee last month.
--Valentina Pop and Jenny Gross contributed to this article.
Write to Natalia Drozdiak at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 16, 2018 13:06 ET (17:06 GMT)
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