Waters emphasized that Facebook remains the subject of an antitrust investigation by the attorneys general of 47 states and the District of Columbia, and has already been fined $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for “deceiving” consumers and failing to keep their data private.
Some politicians, including presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, have suggested that Facebook may need to be broken up over alleged anticompetitive and monopolistic traits.
Facebook faces intense scrutiny for its alleged role in the Russian government’s interference with the 2016 presidential election over what Waters described as “ads designed to pit Americans against each other, suppress the vote and boost Trump.” The social media company, which claims 2.7 billion users, raised more questions when it announced it would not fact-check political ads.
“Facebook allowed a counterfeit Black Lives Matter webpage to operate with the goal of discouraging African Americans from voting,” Waters said. “Three years later, these activities are still continuing on Facebook. We learned just this week that Russia and Iran are using the same tactics to meddle in our next election.”
But on the Libra project, Zuckerberg maintained, the company would ensure “a simple, secure, and stable way to transfer money” that would benefit businesses by encouraging people to make transactions on Facebook’s platforms. He acknowledged, however, the project carries some risks.
“There are questions about financial stability, fighting terrorism, and more. I’m here today to discuss those risks and how we plan to address them. But I also hope we can talk about the risks of not innovating,” said Zuckerberg.
“While we debate these issues, the rest of the world isn’t waiting,” he said. “China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months. Libra will be backed mostly by dollars and I believe it will extend America’s financial leadership as well as our democratic values and oversight around the world. If America doesn’t innovate, our financial leadership is not guaranteed.”