Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before the US Congress on the social media giant's plans to launch the Libra cryptocurrency, following pressure from lawmakers.
The House Financial Services Committee is expected to grill Zuckerberg with questions on Facebook's impact on both financial services and housing sectors at the hearing on October 23. Committee chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and other lawmakers have previously expressed concerns about Libra and its potential to mask fraud, abuse and money laundering.
Rep. Waters and other Democrats on the committee sent a letter to Facebook in July to request a moratorium on its cryptocurrency plans, along with digital wallet Calibra.
Zuckerberg will be the sole witness at the hearing, according to a news release. The social media giant had originally agreed to send Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to the hearing.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said that Zuckerberg is looking forward to testifying. Erica Loewe, a spokeswoman for Rep. Waters, declined to comment.
Facebook announced Libra in June, positioning the cryptocurrency as tool that will empower the company's billions of users, particularly those without access to a bank. But in a rare show of bipartisanship, lawmakers have expressed doubts that a company with a track record that includes Cambridge Analytica and other data scandals should be trusted to change the global financial system.
In response to the backlash, Facebook has said it will delay Libra's launch until US regulators are comfortable with the proposal.
Federal ethics reports show that the company has also hired a number of new lobbyists with ties to the lawmakers who serve on banking and financial committees.
© The Washington Post 2019