ZUCKERBERG’S LIBRA TESTIMONY IN THE US CONGRESS

1 November 2019

On 23.10.2019, Mark Zuckerberg testified at the US Congress on the Libra project, the Company's planned digital currency, and the interference in elections, freedom of expression, hate speeches on Facebook groups, and fake news. Zuckerberg tried to reassure that Libra was a “risky project”, but they could lower the cost of electronic payments, and open the global financial system to more people. However, Congressman Maxine Waters stressed that Facebook should first correct the deficiencies and weaknesses in its system instead of embarking on a new project.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers attacked Facebook because of online child exploitation and political misinformation and data privacy laps, and they stated given to the past scandals, they didn not trust Facebook to provide financial services to 2.4 billion users. On the other hand, some members of Congress argued that the private sector and innovation should not have interfered.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would insist on US  approval before launching the Libra project, which is a Swiss-based consortium. It was emphasized that Facebook would even leave the Libra Association if other companies involved in the project wanted to start the project without legal approval. Moreover, the Libra Association, which consists of 21 members, stipulated in the articles of association prepared by the Swiss law on 14.10.2019 that decisions should be taken by the majority of the governing council. For this reason, Facebook cannot take decisions, and control the project alone.

The Libra project has long been criticized for the possibility of facilitating international money laundering and damaging the international monetary system. Various financial partners such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, and eBay had abandoned the project. During the interrogation, Zuckerberg was also asked whether the trusted partners of the project had left the project because they felt that the necessary measures had not been taken. Zuckerberg said the partners had left because Libra was a risky project, and he was not sure if it would even work.

The latest testimony of Zuckerberg was about Cambridge Analytica Scandal (abuse of Facebook users data to intervene in the US presidential election). He said that Facebook's credibility was reduced due to previous mistakes, and that they were not an "ideal messenger” for the Libra project, but that they would work to gain confidence and ensure sending money to people is going to be just like sending a text message.

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