PM Wants Zuckerberg To 'Explain Himself To The Australian People'

"We'd love to see the boss" Turnbull said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to travel to Australia for a grilling over the sharing of Australian users' data.

Turnbull backed calls from Labor MP Anthony Byrne, of the federal parliament's joint committee on intelligence and security, for Zuckerberg to come Down Under "to explain himself to our committee and the Australian people".

It follows revelations this week in the New York Times that Facebook had a data-sharing agreement with Chinese telco and mobile phone manufacturer Huawei, which allowed the company to access data about users and their friends.

Similar arrangements were entered into, the Times reported, with the likes of Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung, as well as other Chinese companies including Lenovo, allowing the manufacturers to include some Facebook features on those phones.

Australian politicians are particularly concerned about the Huawei link, considering the company has been banned from government contracts due to its links with the country's communist government. Reports claim data may have been available to these companies as early as 2007.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Turnbull backed calls for Zuckerberg to travel to Australia to give evidence, similar to how he testified before U.S. Congress in April. Zuckerberg also testified before the European parliament in May, but denied requests from British parliament to appear in April.

"Of course, we'd love to see the boss... but the important thing everyone is paying a lot of attention to the issue of privacy. And, of course, the question of whether people really know what is being done with their personal data," the Prime Minister said.

"I would welcome Facebook coming and testifying before our parliamentary committees, yes."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before U.S. Congress in April (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Turnbull said ongoing developments in social media technology warranted closer inspection.

The PM echoed the sentiments of Byrne, and Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, who told The Australian newspaper that Zuckerberg should face questioning on how Australian data was used. On Twitter, Byrne said it was "vital" Zuckerberg appear.

"I want to know why Mr Zuckerberg allowed this to happen. If need be, he will be invited to appear before the [parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security] in a public hearing to explain himself to our committee and the Aus­tralian people" Byrne told The Australian.

Hastie told The Australian it was "disturbing" that data had been given to Huawei and others.

"Why do tech companies ­resist giving information to law enforcement but are happy to hand it freely to foreign ­com­panies with ties to authoritarian states?" he said.