Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Financial Services Committee, supporting the Libra initiative and reasoning out previous allegations in relation to breaking the users’ trust. Zuckerberg started off the hearing by pointing out the drawback of the existing payments system, which he envisions to overcome by the cryptocurrency project.
Chairwoman Maxine Waters highlighted that Facebook had previously banned cryptocurrency ads citing that the technology was misleading and deceptive. She further mentioned that Facebook revoked the ‘cryptocurrency ads ban’ right before announcing the Libra initiative, and questioned Zuckerberg’s contradictory claim of Libra being a “means for financial inclusion.” Chairwoman Waters’ opening speech also mentioned that Facebook was expected to concentrate on the “existing deficiencies” before starting a cryptocurrency project.
North Carolina representative Patrick McHenry also mentioned that innovation has historically presented a major theme of “exploitation of fear.” Citing Facebook’s links with election manipulation and change in support towards cryptocurrency, Waters said,
“Facebook changes rules when it can benefit itself. This year, Facebook rolled back the cryptocurrency ad ban, bought a blockchain company and announced its own cryptocurrency.”
Waters alleged that Facebook’s intentions behind this move was “because you (Zuckerberg) realized that you could use your size and your users’ data to dominate the cryptocurrency market.” Answer Facebook’s benefit behind the Libra project, Zuckerberg mentioned that the company has been perfecting its security systems since 2016 U.S. elections.
Zuckerberg also pointed out to McHenry that China, which currently houses 6 out of the top 10 Internet companies, does not follow America’s “free expression values.” He also highlighted that considering the current state of affairs, there are no guarantees that China will advocate free speech for the global audience.
Watch the hearing live here.