“People are thrilled to put Zuckerberg on the grill,” said Karl Pincherelle, an aide to a French member of the European Parliament.
Mr. Zuckerberg began the meeting by keeping to the conciliatory script he had used in Washington. He read a statement in which he apologized for Facebook’s role in the spreading of misinformation, foreign interference in elections and the mishandling of customer data.
Then the questions began.
“It is time to discuss breaking Facebook’s monopoly,” said Manfred Weber, a German lawmaker and the leader of the European People’s Party, which makes up the biggest bloc in Parliament. He added that the company had “too much power.”
Another member asked if Mr. Zuckerberg wanted to be remembered in the same high regard as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, or for undermining democracy. In all, nearly a dozen lawmakers spoke, each with multiple questions, some of them very detailed and pointed about issues such as online bullying and election interference.
Throughout, Mr. Zuckerberg, dressed in a dark suit and purple tie, sat stone-faced, jotting down notes and occasionally sipping from a glass of water.
Once the lawmakers finished asking their questions, Mr. Zuckerberg largely avoided answering specifics and repeated previous statements. He mentioned Facebook’s development of artificial intelligence technology to spot violent content and bullying, and its partnerships with fact-checker groups to prevent the spread of misinformation.
He also referred to setting up Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, something he frequently noted during his testimony to Congress.