California Congresswoman Maxine Waters is rightly taking aim at Facebook over the social media giant’s attempt to start its own Libra currency, and as chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, she may be in a position to shut it down.
American Mirror reports:
Waters is initiating her efforts by publicly calling on Facebook to put a moratorium on its plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, which the company announced will be managed from Switzerland.
“I’ve asked them to place a moratorium on moving forward with Libra. We don’t have a regulatory agency to oversee who they are and what they’re doing. This is like starting a bank without having to go through any steps to do it,” Waters told MSNBC Thursday.
Waters pointed to numerous controversies involving the world’s largest social media site that raise serious questions about Facebook’s trustworthiness and ability to protect personal information and data, from its role in a Russian plot to undermine the 2016 presidential election to data-mining on the site that’s used to manipulate folks online.
“Of course, we have questions about Facebook and some of the ways it’s conducted itself in the past, but they’re creating their own cryptocurrency. They’re going to be located in Switzerland. It’s going to be an alternative to the dollar,” Waters said. “And so, yes, I think it’s very important for them to stop right now what they’re doing so that we can get a handle on this.
“We have not held any hearings. We’ve got to protect consumers. We don’t know who all is involved in this,” she continued. “We know that there are about 27 other companies in this network, and we’re talking about big companies that are involved with them where they will all be an alternative to the dollar.
“So this is serious,” Waters said, “and we must ask them for a moratorium.”
Waters wants Facebook to halt plans until both the House and Senate can hold hearings on Libra, and to give the social media company time to address the myriad of other issues currently pending before the federal government – including an investigation into housing discrimination by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The bottom line, Waters said, is Facebook controls a lot of information, and government officials want to ensure they’re responsible with it before launching a cryptocurrency with the potential to significantly impact the financial system in the U.S. and across the world.
“They’ve got to deal with some of the other issues that have been identified … They’re in control of huge data, and how they’re using that data,” Waters said. “One of the things we understand is they have allowed that to be used with the Russians in the latest campaign we had in this country.
“So there’s a lot of issues with Facebook. And Facebook is under investigation, HUD is concerned with how they’ve conducted themselves on the internet – basically redlined out whole communities they did not want to see there advertising,” she said.
Waters insinuated that if Facebook doesn’t voluntarily comply with her request for a moratorium on Libra, she’ll do everything in her power to make it happen.
“We need to get a handle on this and no matter what has not been done, now is the time,” she said. “We’ve got to do it and we should ask them, as we’re doing, or force them in any way we can to place a moratorium on this new cryptocurrency …”
“We are looking at their practices. We’re looking at the way they do business, and while we’re doing that they have moved on to develop this cryptocurrency and to organize in Switzerland out from any scrutinies perhaps we should be having on them,” Waters continued. “So now were going to move, and we’re going to move very aggressively and very quickly on what is going on with this new cryptocurrency they’re creating.”
It’s unclear what, exactly, Waters can do to convince Facebook to halt its plans for Libra, but she is one of a handful of Democrats in Congress with the authority to authorize subpoenas in certain circumstances.
Waters’ comments come at the same time one of Facebook’s co-founders, Chris Hughes, is warning global regulators to put the brakes on Libra before it’s too late. Hughes urged regulators to intervene, pointing out that the corporations involved, from Mastercard to Paypal to Uber and Vodafone, would effectively wrest control over world finances.
“If even modestly successful, Libra would hand over much of the control of monetary policy from central banks to these private companies,” Hughes told The Guardian. “If global regulators don’t act now, it could very soon be too late.”
From American Mirror