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House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters said Facebook Inc. should cease work on its cryptocurrency project until the company addresses a series of unrelated “deficiencies” in its social media business.
Waters, speaking earlier this week at a hearing featuring Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, cited Facebook’s misappropriation of users’ personal data, its role in allowing Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, and the spread of polarizing political ads on its platform that have pitted Americans against each other.
“You have opened up a serious discussion about whether Facebook should be broken up,” Waters, a California Democrat, told Zuckerberg.
Waters’ opening remarks are a preview of the potentially hours of heated questions that Zuckerberg will face at the hearing before her committee.
The company’s digital currency, known as Libra, has faced a wave of pushback in Washington due to concerns that it will undermine consumers’ financial privacy and be used by criminals for illicit transactions. Zuckerberg has said he has no intention of launching the token without the sign-off of U.S. regulators.
Waters has been one of Congress’s loudest critics of Facebook’s effort to create the token. When the social media giant first announced its plans in June, she almost immediately demanded that the company halt development.
In the months since, she’s grilled a Facebook executive and federal watchdogs on the project at hearings and raised repeated concerns about the coin being used to bypass anti-money laundering laws.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.