Facebook documents are seized by MPs investigating the security breach

Facebook documents are seized by MPs investigating the security breach

MPs will grill a senior Facebook executive on Tuesday after a cache of internal documents which shed light on the social media giant's data and privacy controls were seized using Parliament's legal powers.

The papers contain claims that that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder, had developed a "malicious and fraudulent" scheme to exploit users' data.

"The committee used a parliamentary order to obtain documents that could be highly relevant to the inquiry", a spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee told NBC News.

The Six4Three documents were dramatically seized when the House of Commons serjeant-at-arms was sent to the U.S. businessman's hotel.

When the executive failed to do so he was escorted to Parliament and warned he risked fines and imprisonment if the documents were not surrendered, the paper said.

In the Observer, Mr Collins said the methods used to obtain the documents were unprecedented, adding: "But it's an unprecedented situation".

Richard Allan, Facebook's vice-president for policy solutions, answered questions in London in place of his boss, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who ignored repeated requests to appear.

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The company was angry about changes in Facebook's rules, which restricted its access to user data, and the documents were provided to it as part of the disclosure process. "We've failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest", Collins said. Six4Three has been in a legal battle with Facebook for years, and has had access to their documents under seal, CNN reports.

"We are in uncharted territory".

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which triggered global scrutiny of Facebook's data collection practices, Zuckerberg has only answered to lawmakers in public twice: before Congress in April and European Parliament in May.

Six4Three filed a complaint against Facebook at the Superior Court of California County of San Matteo in 2015.

The event is being held just days after Britain's parliament seized confidential Facebook documents from the developer of a now-defunct tech firm, a move that was considered unusually aggressive.

"We have asked the DCMS committee to refrain from reviewing them and to return them to counsel or to Facebook".

Facebook said in a statement that the "the engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently looked into this further and found no evidence of specific Russian activity".

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