Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t contain his laughter during a House hearing today when Rep. Maxine Waters accused him of “stepping on or over anyone, including your competitors, women, people of color, your own users, and even our democracy to get what you want.”
Zuckerberg is before the House Financial Services Committee and Waters laid into him right from the start.
“Mr. Zuckerberg, each month, 2.7 billion people use your products, that’s over a third of the world’s population,” Waters lectured the CEO.
“That’s huge. That’s so big that it’s clear to me, and to anyone who hears this list, that perhaps you believe you’re above the law. And it appears that you’re aggressively increasing the size of your company,” she continued, “and are willing to step on or over anyone, including your competitors, women, people of color, your own users, and even our democracy to get what you want.”
In the midst of the accusation, Zuckerberg laughed, and pointed towards the back of the room, perhaps indicating he wanted to leave.
Waters went on to say Zuckerberg has opened up a “serious discussion” about whether the company should be “broken up.”
Laughing at Waters is likely not a wise business move, as she would have considerable control over the company’s intention to create a global digital currency.
“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 in June.
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.”
Victor Skinner contributed to this report.