Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) stated in a recent interview that he believes Facebook is “expanding their monopoly” with its new Libra digital currency.
Speaking to Yahoo News, Sen. Josh Hawley criticized Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency stating that it seemed to be another example of the tech firm “expanding their monopoly.” Hawley stated that he had a number of concerns about the Silicon Valley social media giant, relating to privacy, anti-competitive conduct and the size of the company.
Hawley stated: “We need to see exactly what their specific proposals are, but I’m very concerned about Facebook’s behavior on a range of fronts. I’m concerned about their size, I’m concerned about their anti-competitive conduct, I’m concerned about their rampant violations of privacy.”
Hawley is critical of Facebook on a number of fronts, stating his belief that the company should be subject to an in-depth antitrust investigation. Hawley stated:
There needs to be an antitrust investigation. I hope one will go forward, but in the meantime, in the immediate future with this consent decree — if it’s just a fine of a few billion dollars, that’s a speeding ticket to Facebook. They need to get serious. Name Mark Zuckerberg. Name him, if he has in fact participated in violating consent decree as reports indicate. And let’s consider some tougher penalties, too.
It was recently revealed that the DOJ is launching an investigation into Google in relation to antitrust issues, the FTC is also reportedly considering an investigation of Facebook. Hawley was asked if he trusted Facebook with his money, to which he laughed stating “no, I don’t trust Facebook with anything.”
Hawley stated that one of the biggest issues with Facebook is that it’s impossible to escape the company’s influence:
People who say, ‘I’m never having anything to do with Facebook. I’m not going to use their platform’ — well, then it turns out that their network is all over the web. It turns out that their code is everywhere.
This is part of what being a monopoly means and having all of this market power is that even when you say, ‘I don’t want anything to do with them,’ they keep coming and finding you. And they keep coming and taking your personal information. I mean, we’ve got to put a stop to this.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, stated that Facebook’s new cryptocurrency will face intense scrutiny, saying: “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.”
Interestingly, while Facebook is attempting to attract its current user base to use it’s Libra cryptocurrency in 2020, currently it seems that the currency will not launch in one of Facebook’s biggest markets — India. A Facebook spokesperson recently told TechCrunch: “The Libra Blockchain will be global, but it will be up to custodial wallet providers to determine where they will and will not operate. Calibra won’t be available in U.S.-sanctioned countries or countries that ban cryptocurrencies.”
One of the countries included in this is India, other countries excluded will include China, North Korea, and Iran.