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UK lawmakers likely to investigate Facebook over Libra

Benson Toti

Members of the UK Parliament might probe Facebook’s Libra project soon, as they are worried over the proposed cryptocurrency’s potential impact on areas such as consumer privacy.

As reported by news outlet Financial News, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency has drawn the attention of the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which fear that the social media giant’s move into financial services could give it too much power. The chair of the committee Damian Collins indicated in an interview with Financial news that he didn’t have confidence in Facebook’s ability to safeguard the personal financial details of billions of users and pointed to Facebook’s recent string of privacy scandals. He led an 18-month probe into the US tech company following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

“To me, [Libra] suggests that Facebook’s almost trying to turn itself into its own country,” Collins said, as quoted by Financial News. “It’s a global organisation that doesn’t have physical boundaries but basically has a global community who are solely under the oversight of Mark Zuckerberg [its CEO],” he added.

“If we’re going to have this payment system created by Facebook that exists within a Facebook walled garden, which no one really has access to or can question, then our concern has got to be that this system is going to be open to massive fraud,” the MP also said.

Last week Facebook’s blockchain chief David Marcus was questioned by US lawmakers during two congressional hearings, before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, respectively. At those hearings, the majority of lawmakers expressed serious concerns over Libra, with some urging Facebook to halt development on the project. During the Financial Services Committee hearing, Marcus said that Facebook “will not offer” the proposed digital currency “until we have fully addressed regulator’s concerns and received the proper approvals”.

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