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Keep Big Tech out of banking

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Petition to Congress:

"Pass H.R. 4813, the Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act."`

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    Keep Big Tech out of banking

    Mark Zuckerberg's recent testimony on Capitol Hill was a disaster. Lawmakers grilled Zuckerberg over the company's repeated privacy violations, the despicable content on its platform and its policy of allowing outright falsehoods in political ads.1

    In addition to all that's already horrible, lawmakers also wanted to talk about an emerging Facebook disaster – its Libra project. Libra, like Bitcoin, is a cryptocurrency, but one under Facebook's control. In typically Zuckerbook fashion, he insisted last week that Libra should not be regulated like a bank or by the Securities and Exchange Commission.2

    Zuckerberg wants Facebook to control a global currency with no oversight and no questions asked, even though his company repeatedly mishandles our private information. That's unacceptable, and Rep. Chuy García just introduced legislation that would put a stop to it.

    Tell Congress: Keep Big Tech out of banking.

    Facebook is currently under investigation by 47 state attorneys general and regulators in multiple nations. It recently paid a record-breaking $5 billion fine for privacy violations that allowed a right-wing firm to help sway the 2016 election. It lied to advertisers about video metrics, lied to Congress in testimony and lied about the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook has created a safe haven for white nationalism, right-wing hatred, racism, misogyny, ethnic supremacism and fake news that fosters violence worldwide. And now Zuckerberg is saying: Trust us.3,4

    As Rep. García put it, "Given Facebook’s track record of evading criminal liability, abusing private data, and manipulating markets with their monopolistic power, regulators should be considering how to break up Facebook, not greenlighting a new, dangerous project like Libra."5 Libra would:6

    • Centralize corporate control by giving Facebook more power, undermining sovereign states and giving the corporate interests behind the project the ability to distort global currencies or undermine governments at will.
    • Promote tax dodging and money laundering by making it easier for people to hide their money in a new network with global reach.
    • Erode freedom with no clear limits on Facebook's ability to use data from Libra purchases, bake racist discrimination into its algorithms, change the rules in the future or demand that employees take payment in currency it controls.
    • Put consumers at risk with none of the guarantees, oversight and protections found in traditional banking.

    Libra is already under pressure, with a handful of major partners dropping out even before Zuckerberg's testimony. But at a time when Big Tech is increasingly looking for ways to expand its monopolistic power and use vast reams of data to move into finance, we need a more thoughtful response. Rep. García's legislation, the Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act, would prohibit Facebook and other big tech companies from preying on us with digital currencies – and we need to make sure every member of Congress knows it has our support.

    Tell Congress: Keep Big Tech out of banking.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. John Constine, "Lowlights from Zuckerberg’s Libra testimony in Congress," TechCrunch, Oct. 23, 2019.
    2. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, "Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García Introduces Bill to Keep Big Tech Companies Out of Financial Sector," Oct. 23, 2019.
    3. Cecilia Kang, Mike Isaac and Nathaniel Popper, "Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Accused of Lying, Withstands a Washington ‘Beating,’" The New York Times, Oct. 23, 2019.
    4. Tony Romm, "Facebook will have to pay a record-breaking fine for violating users’ privacy. But the FTC wanted more." The Washington Post, July 22, 2019.
    5. Rep. García, "Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García Introduces Bill to Keep Big Tech Companies Out of Financial Sector."
    6. Public Citizen et. al., "Open Letter Calling for Libra Moratorium," July 2, 2019.

    Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images