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Matt blackout
Taming Facebook, Issue 1490
hancock-zuckerberg.jpg WHILE MPs fume that Mark Zuckerberg refuses to answer their questions face-to-face, transparency campaigners have unearthed one minister who managed to secure an interview with the elusive Facebook boss.

The digital, culture, media and sport committee published its report on “fake news” this week, with chair Damian Collins complaining: “Evidence uncovered… shows he still has questions to answer yet he’s continued to duck them, refusing to respond to our invitations directly or sending representatives who don’t have the right information.”

Zuckerberg has snubbed Collins’s committee multiple times and also declined to attend an international grand committee, with MPs from several countries concerned about his company’s practices.

Blacked out
However, during Matt Hancock’s brief stint as culture secretary, he achieved a tête-à-tête at a tech conference they were both speaking at in Paris last May. Whether they discussed any of the committee’s concerns – from dark ads to data privacy, Cambridge Analytica to foreign interference in elections – isn’t public knowledge. The culture department is about as transparent as Facebook and is withholding all details of the meeting.

Campaigners from Spinwatch therefore requested correspondence between Matthew Gould (the department’s director-general for digital and media policy) and Facebook’s lobbyists regarding the meeting. They received 13 redacted pages – almost entirely blacked out!

More top stories in the latest issue:

THE ART OF POLITICS
Special report on the questionable commercial record of Tory treasurer Ehud Sheleg and his business ties to some of Russia’s more unsavoury characters.

GARDEN TOOLS
Why, at the Evening Standard and Today programme, the vast waste of money that was London’s Garden Bridge project wasn’t considered newsworthy.

FLAILING GRAYLING
Rail columnist Dr B Ching on how much public money it costs to keep one hopeless transport secretary (Chris Grayling) in office.

WATERWORLD
The water companies say they’re doing everything possible to avoid restricting supplies if there’s is another dry summer. But who can believe them?

CHINA WATCH
China’s thriving organ transplant industry is now suspected of new horrors: harvesting organs from living prisoners of conscience.

EYE TOLD YOU SO…
The resignation of De Montfort university’s fat cat vice-chancellor is no surprise to Eye readers – but questions remain about his business dealings.

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Next issue on sale: 5th March 2019
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Private Eye Issue 1490
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Mouse Denies Running Down Clock – Nursery Times Exclusive… Ratcliffe Leaves Sinking Ship RMS Brexitanic… PM ‘Needs More Time’ So Creates Extra Month Between February and March… Fresh Extinction Warning for David Attenborough Documentaries on the BBC… Donald Trump Creates New 51st State Called ‘Emergency’… White House Condemns Violence Against People President Trump Urges His Supporters to Attack… An Atheist Revolution, as told to Craig Brown

Man in the Eye
Tory party treasurer Ehud Sheleg

VAT’s life!
The supreme court’s supreme screw-up

Stupid boy
The gaffes of Gavin Williamson

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Private Eye Issue 1489