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Lowlights from Zuckerbergs Libra testimony in Congress

Congress grilled Facebooks CEO today, unleashing critiques of his approach to cryptocurrency, privacy, encryption, and running a giant corporation. Mark Zuckerberg tried to assuage their fears while stoking concerns that if Facebook doesnt build Libra, then the world will end up using Chinas version.
During the hearing before the House Financial Services Committee that you can watch here, Zuckerberg recommitted to only releasing Libra with full US regulatory approval. But given the tone of the questioning and Zuckerbergs lack of fresh answers since Facebooks David Marcus testified about Libra in July, Libra now looks even less likely to launch in 2020. With few highlights or positive moments coming from the hearing, here are the lowlights that matter.

The hearing started tensely, with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) declaring that Perhaps you believe that youre above the law, and it appears that you are aggressively increasing the size of your company, and are willing to step over anyone, including your competitors, women, people of color, you own users, and even our democracy to get what you want . . . In fact, you have opened up a serious discussion about whether Facebook should be broken up.
However, some members of congress used their time to advocate for American dominance instead of heavy regulation. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) said the question is, are we going to spend our time trying to devise ways for government planners to centralize and control as to who, when and how innovators can innovate.
Lowlights from Zuckerbergs Libra testimony in Congress

Zuckerberg tried to leverage nationalist sentiment to deflect scrutiny. As soon as we put forwardthe white paper around the Libra project, China immediately announced a public private partnership, working with companies . . to extend the work that theyve already done with AliPay into a digital Renminbi as part of the Belt and Road Initiative that they have, and theyre planning on launching that in the next few months.
Yet Zuckerberg wouldnt commit to blocking anonymous Libra wallets that could facilitate money laundering, only saying Facebooks own Calibra wallet would have strong identity checks.
When pushed on why Libra Association members like Visa, Stripe, and eBay left the organization, Zuckerberg admitted I think becauseits a risky project and theres been a lot of scrutiny.
Therell be more major launches from Facebook that could raise questions about its impact on society, Zuckerberg revealed. Later this week we actually have a big announcement coming up on on launching a big initiativearound news and journalism, where were partnering with a lot of folks to to to build a new product thats supporting high quality journalism. Facebook plans to launch a News section featuring headlines from top outlets, though only some will be paid.
The hearing is ongoing and well continue to update this article with major takeways.
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