Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to move ahead with plans to create a cryptocurrency-based payments network despite strong opposition from some lawmakers, sounding a note of defiance in a hearing where he and the social-media giant were pressed over issues of trust and credibility, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The harsh tone of questioning by members of the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday illustrates Facebook’s delicate position. Zuckerberg and other company executives remain eager to enter new areas of growth and launch new products like libra. But three years after the 2016 election exposed the platform’s vulnerability to abuse, many lawmakers are increasingly uneasy about the company’s ambitions.
In his testimony, Zuckerberg defended Facebook’s goal to offer financial services to more than a billion consumers around the world through libra, a digital coin designed to be used to buy things online and off and send money domestically and overseas, while acknowledging the risks to meeting that goal.
“I actually don’t know if libra is going to work,” Zuckerberg said during the roughly six-hour hearing. Still, he pledged to refrain from participating in libra’s launch anywhere in the world unless U.S. regulators approved of it, the Journal adds.
Since Facebook announced its vision for libra in June with a group of 27 other companies, U.S. legislators and regulators have voiced concerns about its effect on financial stability and data privacy. European officials have tried to halt its launch.
That criticism continued Wednesday, with many Democrats and some Republicans blasting the project. Other GOP lawmakers praised Facebook for trying to innovate.