T Skevington and M Bacina
Facebook Founder forced to testify to US House Financial Services Committee
US Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee has announced that Mark Zuckerberg will be testifying before the Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, 23 October 2019. The hearing has been titled "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors”, and Mark Zuckerberg will be the only witness at the hearing.
This marks the third hearing in the US focused on Libra, following the hearings held by the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee in July 2019, both of which were attended by David Marcus representing Libra. At both prior hearings, many lawmakers expressed extreme skepticism, sometimes bordering on contempt, about the Libra project.
With Paypal (which was previously led by Mr Marcus) recently departing the Libra Association, and Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) openly calling on Visa, Mastercard and Stripe to reconsider their involvement, it is likely that the animosity from US lawmakers towards Libra will continue.
It is likely the hearing will also involve further discussion on the subtly named Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act. The draft legislation intends to prohibit "large platform utilities", like Facebook, from becoming chartered, licensed or registered as a U.S. financial institution (e.g. like taxpayer-backed banks, investment funds, and stock exchanges) or otherwise becoming affiliated with such financial institutions. The bill also prohibits large platform utilities from establishing, maintaining, or operating a digital asset that is intended to be widely used as medium of exchange, unit of account, store of value, or any other similar function as defined by the Federal Reserve.