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Facebook’s Cryptocurrency -- And Stance On Political Speech -- Come Under Scrutiny




Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced bipartisan, hostile questions in a congressional hearing Wednesday focused on the social media company’s plans to launch its own cryptocurrency known as Libra.

Zuckerberg acknowledged concerns about the Libra project, saying he would not allow Facebook to move forward unless he got explicit approval from all U.S. financial regulators. But members of the House Financial Services committee were not convinced.

Rep. Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said that Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra “create many concerns” and argued that maybe Facebook should be broken up.

On the Republican side, Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri asked Zuckerberg why several high-profile corporations have recently departed the Libra project. Zuckerberg, momentarily at a loss for words, noted that “it’s a risky enterprise.”

While the hearing is focused on the digital currency, the full range of Facebook’s policies, conduct and market dominance is attracting congressional attention. It’s the Facebook chief’s first testimony to Congress since April 2018.

With files from the Associated Press. 

Guest:

Sarah Frier, tech reporter for Bloomberg in San Francisco; she tweets @sarahfrier

Peter Schroeder, financial correspondent for Reuters in Washington DC; he tweets @peteschroeder