Facebook’s Zuckerberg grilled in US Congress over ‘risky’ Libra

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Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that the company’s planned digital currency Libra was a “risky project,” but sought to reassure sceptical US lawmakers that it could lower the cost of electronic payments and open up the global financial system to more people.

Zuckerberg also fended off aggressive questions on election interference, free speech, hate groups and fake news from members of the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Representative Maxine Waters, the panel’s fiery Democratic chair, quizzed Zuckerberg on Facebook’s steps to combat misinformation and voter suppression ahead of the November 2020 US presidential election. She also suggested policymakers should consider breaking up Facebook.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike blasted Facebook for failing to crack down on online child exploitation and political misinformation, and for data privacy lapses. Several said they did not trust Facebook to help provide financial services to its 2.4 billion users given the past scandals.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would insist on US regulatory approval before launching Libra, which is being established by a Switzerland-based consortium including venture capital firms and non-profits. He said Facebook would even leave the Libra Association if other companies sought to launch the currency without that sign-off.

Libra has faltered in recent weeks amid sustained criticism from lawmakers and regulators globally over fears it may aid money laundering and upend the global financial system. Several financial partners including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and eBay have abandoned the project.

Via France 24

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