Facebook’s Zuckerberg faces hostile Congress

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Bipartisan lawmakers grilled the Facebook CEO on many issues

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced a committee full of hostile lawmakers who were ready to grill him over everything from Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, Libra, to claims Facebook allowed housing discrimination on its platform.

But one of the biggest issues was Facebook’s effort — or lack thereof — to actually try and stop foreign election meddling and political misinformation.

California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, ripped into Zuckerberg for only enforcing policies when it benefits Facebook.

“Last year,” she said, “Facebook banned all cryptocurrency ads on its platform because — and I quote — ‘They are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices,'” Waters said.

Waters also pointedly questioned whether Facebook is trying to fix the problem where foreign countries — such as Russia in 2016 — used the social media giant to spread misinformation.

“Last week you announced a new ad policy that gives politicians a license to lie so you can earn more money,” Waters said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a congressional hearing, October 23, 2019 (Nexstar)

Zuckerberg countered. “We believe that in a democracy it is important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying.”

He defended Facebook’s policy but admitted the platform does fact check other types of ads.

Missouri Republican Ann Wagner said Facebook isn’t doing enough to stop child sex abuse online.

“Of the 18.4 million worldwide reports of child sexual abuse material,” the Department of Justice confirmed 16.8 million “are on Facebook,” Wagner said.

Lawmakers also questioned Facebook about allowing housing and employment ads that discriminated based on age and race — a problem Facebook says is now fixed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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