Sen. John Kennedy slams Facebook, accuses it of 'displacing truthful journalism with flagrant displays of bulls---'

Gerald Herbert/APSenator John Kennedy was one of several lawmakers who criticised Facebook’s plan to launch its cryptocurrency, Libra.
  • Senator John Kennedy accused the tech giant of promoting “flagrant displays of bullshit” during a Congressional hearing on Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.
  • The comments were addressed towards Facebook executive David Marcus, who did not have an immediate response.
  • Sen. Kennedy and other lawmakers expressed scepticism that Facebook would be able to manage its own currency based on the company’s track record with privacy and other issues.
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Lawmakers continue to express their scepticism about Facebook’s ability to manage its proposed cryptocurrency Libra amid multiple scandals.

During a hearing at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senator John Kennedy laid into Facebook’s values, suggesting that the social media platform was undermining effective journalism.

“Isn’t it true, and I really want your opinion, that Facebook has chosen to advance a set of values in which truthful reporting is displaced by flagrant displays of bullshit?” Kennedy said on Tuesday.

The comments were directed towards Facebook executive David Marcus, the head of Calibra. Marcus did not have an immediate response, prompting laughter from the audience. Kennedy said he had respect for the company, but remained sceptical of its plans to manage a cryptocurrency at an international scale.

Senator Sherrod Brown called Facebook “dangerous” during the hearing, referencing the social media giant’s past controversies. Facebook has faced heavy criticism in the past year for leaking the data of millions of users and letting Russian nationals purchase political ads prior to the 2016 presidential election. Last week the Federal Trade Commission levied a $US5 billion fine on Facebook for the data breach, but the amount is just a small fraction of the company’s annual revenue.

Read more:
The FTC’s $US5 billion fine for Facebook is so meaningless, it will likely leave Zuckerberg wondering what he can’t get away with

“It takes a breathtaking amount of arrogance to look at that track record and think, you know what we really ought to do next? Let’s run our own bank and our own for-profit version of the Federal Reserve, and let’s do it for the whole world,” Brown said on Tuesday.

Marcus told the committee that Facebook wont launch Libra until all regulatory concerns are addressed and the cryptocurrency has government approval.

“I expect that this will be the broadest, most extensive, and most careful pre-launch oversight by regulators and central banks in FinTech’s history,” Marcus wrote in the prepared statements he delivered to the committee.

As a digital currency, Libra would be available to people across the world and could be used for international transactions. Marcus said that Libra is designed to be stable with low inflation and easy use. The cryptocurrency will be backed by traditional currencies including the U.S dollar, British pound, the euro, and the Japanese Yen.

Facebook is also creating a digital wallet app called Calibra that will let users exchange Libra, but the social media company says that other digital wallets could make use of Libra available in the future too.

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