The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has booked a hearing on Facebook and its recently announced cryptocurrency Libra. The hearing was largely anticipated as multiple politicians issued public statements on the day Facebook revealed their vision for the future of finance using blockchain technology.
Last month, the Senate Committee on Banking Chairman Mike Crapo and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown formally requested information from Facebook on data usage and the implication for “consumer’s financial lives.”
In a series of questions pertaining to the anticipated launch of Libra, Senators Crapo and Brown asked Facebook:
“How would this new cryptocurrency-based payment system work, and what outreach has there been to financial regulators to ensure it meets all legal and regulatory requirements? “
The two Senators said the collection, use, and protection of consumer data by private financial companies, including third-parties that share information with financial regulators and private financial companies, will continue to be a focus of the Committee moving forward.
Earlier this week, Senator Brown hit Facebook again with additional scrutiny.
Senator Brown said Libra will give Facebook “competitive advantages with regard to collecting data about financial transactions, as well as control over fees and functionality.”
“Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight. I’m calling on our financial watchdogs to scrutinize this closely to ensure users are protected,”said Brown.
Facebook’s track record regarding customers data usage is abysmal. Lacking in transparency, Facebook sells information captured from its billions of users. Facebook has been broadly criticized for its basis of operation while some legislators have called on social media, in general, to be the subject of greater regulation.
The Senate Banking Hearing with Facebook is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, July 16 at 10AM in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
While open to the public, it is anticipated that space will be limited. Individuals interested in attending may RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hearing will also be live-streamed on the Senate’s website. The witness list will be published closer to the date of the hearingn.