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The U.S. House Financial Services Committee announced today that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before Congress in a special hearing on October 23.
The hearing is billed as “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.” But all signs point to a showdown focused on Libra, the company’s stablecoin project, and its potential effect on the U.S. financial system.
Zuckerberg is, of course, no stranger to congressional grillings. In 2018, Congress questioned the executive over Facebook’s ties to Cambridge Analytica. Facebook had allegedly been selling users’ private data to the company for years for advertising purposes, which resulted in a $5 billion settlement and a significant drop in user trust in Facebook, according to an NBC report.
And Congress has been particularly hostile to Facebook’s crypto foray since day one. David Marcus—the former PayPal executive who now heads Facebook’s blockchain division—testified before Congress over the summer regarding Libra. Several members of Congress have taken the position that Facebook no longer deserves the American people’s trust and don’t believe the company has noble intentions within the financial space with Libra.
Marcus acknowledged during the hearing in July that Facebook had not behaved respectfully towards its users, and said that the company is willing to work its way back up the trust ladder to regain its users’ confidence.
This was all fine and dandy coming from one of Zuckerberg’s underlings, but members of Congress evidently want to hear the words come out of the Facebook CEO’s mouth. Just days ago, several U.S. lawmakers called on Zuckerberg to answer questions about Libra directly, and it looks like their wish is about to come true.
Libra has faced a tough road ever since it was first announced in June. Just last week, one of its inaugural partners, PayPal, dropped out of the Libra Association, leaving it with one less Silicon Valley titan as part of its committee.
Libra is is still scheduled to launch in the second half of 2020, according to the Libra Association.