Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to attend congressional hearing later this month

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to attend congressional hearing later this month

The co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, will testify before the US Congress over the controversial Libra cryptocurrency project, industry website Coindesk has reported.

According to an announcement published on Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee will on October 23 hold a hearing titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors”. Zuckerburg is scheduled to be the only witness, Coindesk notes.

Facebook has come under significant regulatory scrutiny following its June announcement of the Libra project. In July, the company’s blockchain chief David Marcus attended two congressional hearings, where he was grilled over Libra by members of the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. During those hearings lawmakers expressed serious concerns over the project, with some urging Facebook to halt development on the proposed cryptocurrency and wallet until those concerns have been addressed.

A draft bill titled the “Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act”, was also discussed at the Financial Services Committee’s July hearing. The draft legislation prohibits “large platform utilities, like Facebook, from becoming chartered, licensed or registered as a U.S. financial institution (e.g. like taxpayer-backed banks, investment funds, and stock exchanges) or otherwise becoming affiliated with such financial institutions,” the committee explained in its October hearing announcement.

“The bill also prohibits large platform utilities from establishing, maintaining, or operating a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value, or any other similar function as defined by the Federal Reserve.”

In addition to the external pressure from regulators and lawmakers, the Libra project has also seen some internal turmoil in recent weeks. At the beginning of this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Visa and Mastercard, two of the ‘founding members’ of the Libra Association, the Geneva-based consortium tasked with overseeing Libra, are reconsidering their involvement with the project. A few days later, another member, PayPal, announced that it was pulling out of the consortium.

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