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Facebook shouldn’t be trusted with Libra plan: US senators

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Facebook’s David Marcus faced a cacophony of fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding the social media giant’s plan to launch its digital currency Libra during a Senate hearing Tuesday, following criticisms from a wide range of regulators and lawmakers around the globe. 

Facebook’s track record should stand in the way of it launching a digital currency, US lawmakers said on Tuesday, labeling the firm’s plan for the Libra crypto unit “delusional” and “crazy”.

“Facebook has demonstrated through scandal after scandal that it doesn’t deserve our trust,” Democratic senator Sherrod Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said at a hearing in Washington, Reuters reports.

“We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts.”

Brown added during questioning that he thought it was “delusional” to think individuals would trust the social media company with their “hard-earned” money.

Marcus stuck to the Facebook talking points, noting once again that Facebook is not the sole member of the so-called Libra Association backing the crypto and that other members — including the likes of PayPal and Visa — would keep the company’s power over the network in check. 

Marcus, who was president of PayPal from 2012 to 2014, tried to assuage concerns by promising that Facebook will not begin offering Libra until regulatory issues are addressed.

“We know we need to take the time to get this right,” Marcus told lawmakers.

Senators raised a range of concerns, including about how the company plans to prevent money laundering, how consumers’ data and funds will be protected and how the Geneva-based association created to run the system will be regulated.

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“I know we have to earn people’s trust for a very long period of time,” Marcus said when asked whether consumers can trust Facebook not to share their payment information.

The social media company has pledged that its payments subsidiary called Calibra will only share customer data with Facebook and external third parties if it has consent, or in “limited cases,” where it is necessary.