Facebook CEO Set To Testify Before House Panel On Oct. 23 Over Libra

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Zuckerberg visits members of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington (Photo: Reuters / Joshua Roberts)

In relation to its Libra cryptocurrency project and other concerns, social media giant Facebook has been asked to appear before the House Financial Services Committee this month.

The invitation sent by the committee was for the company's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

The agency announced on Wednesday that it had sent an invitation to the 35-year-old CEO to appear on October 23 for a hearing entitled "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors." Zuckerberg was the only person at Facebook that was given the invite, which means that he will be the only witness at the hearing.

House members have long been trying to set up a hearing with Zuckerberg, for him to personally testify on his company's plans for its Libra cryptocurrency.

According to reports citing sources close to the matter, the committee had apparently already been in contact with Facebook's COO Sherly Sandberg discussing the possibility of having Zuckerberg attend a hearing.

The House, led by Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, had previously asked Facebook to postpone the launch of its Libra cryptocurrency prior to a formal hearing. Due to Facebook's lack of commitment to hold such meetings, the company has been faced with added scrutiny not only from US regulators but also from international authorities.

Concerns over the company's proposed project further escalated when one of its original backers, PayPal, had announced that it was dropping out of the association.

Other prominent backers of Facebook's cryptocurrency project also expressed their intention of backing out.

This included corporate backers such as Mastercard and Visa, who both expressed their doubts about their positions in the association.

48uyThe decision to reconsider their roles in the project was partly caused by a letter sent to the companies by the Senate Banking Committee, which asked them to carefully consider the risk involved with participating in Facebook's Libra project.

The hearing later this month will follow Zuckerberg's most recent grilling by lawmakers in 2018. Zuckerberg traveled to Washington last year to testify on his company's involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zuckerberg's decision to once again appear before lawmakers is a big shift for the company as it had previously declined to meet with regulators. The CEO reportedly told his employees during a staff meeting that there was no sense in meeting with regulators in every single country.

Apart from discussion the company's Libra cryptocurrency project, the upcoming hearing will likely look at the company's competitive practices. Facebook is currently facing a number of antitrust investigations and multiple reviews by state attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission, and the House Judiciary Committee.

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