Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on various issues including his troubled cryptocurrency project Libra, free speech and fake news. He had a long day on Capitol Hill where he faced questions of the House Financial Services Committee. Some of the members were very critical of the social media giant. Zuckerberg’s testimony comes close on the heels of the company disclosing the removal of a network of Russian accounts that were targeting the US voters on its photo-sharing platform Instagram. He last appeared before Congress over a year ago and had spent 10 hours for two days. During that appearance, he answered questions from House and Senate panels on the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal. The political consulting firm had purchased Facebook data of up to 87 million users and misused it for a campaign in the 2016 US election.
Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when asked Zuckerberg this time about when he became aware of Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant founder said he was ‘not sure’. Ocasio-Cortez then asked questions about political ads on the social media platform and sought to know from Zuckerberg would he allow ads that deliberately lied to users. “In a democracy, voters should be able to judge themselves what politicians say,” Zuckerberg said and emphasized that Facebook did draw the line at content that incites voter suppression or violence.
Zuckerberg also faced questions about cryptocurrency plans from both Republicans and Democrats alike. He was asked about the impact Libra would have on the housing sector. On this, Zuckerberg promised that he would seek US regulatory approval before launching the cryptocurrency. The digital currency project of Facebook has been under fire over fears that it may enable money laundering and topple the global financial system. Not only others, but several financial partners of Facebook including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and eBay have also been critical of Libra and backed out the project. However, Zuckerberg is moving ahead as it has been lucky enough to find some new partners like IBM. Facebook has partnered partnering with a Switzerland-based consortium to make it happen.