Facebook Hires Political Influencer to Lobby for Its Libra Cryptocurrency

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Facebook Hires Political Influencer to Lobby for Its Libra Cryptocurrency
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Facebook has recently hired Susan Zook, a former aid to the chairman US Senate Banking Committee to work on lobbying Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project.

According to the latest report by Politico, in a move to lobby for its Libra project, Facebook has recently hired Susan Zook of Mason Street Consulting who holds to be having a good influence in the political circle.

It turns out that Zook has been a former aid to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the chairman of U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and will work at Facebook to lobby for its Libra Project. Zook told Politico that she would be working on lobbying the Senate Republicans.

The report comes just within a week’s time of the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing with Facebook’s David Marcus and questioned him about its Libra crypto project and issues pertaining to anti-money laundering, privacy, and data protection.

As per the report from Politico, Facebook has already spent over $7.5 million on lobbying efforts this year. Apart from hiring some in-house lobbyists, the social media giant is also approaching some third-party lobbying firms to work on the Libra cryptocurrency.

Some of the big and popular names include the Cypress Group and the Sternhell Group. In June 2019, Facebook has reportedly hired Standard Chartered’s former senior bank lobbyist Edward Bowles to focus on some regulatory affairs.

Zuckerberg Committed On Getting Libra to the Market

During a quarterly earnings call on July 24, Mark Zuckerberg assured investors that Facebook will work in a responsible manner for its Libra project. He also added that his company will work “however long it takes” to get lawmakers and regulators on-board. He said:

“We’re committed to working with policymakers to get this right. We’ve opened a period of, however long it takes to address regulators and different experts and constituents’ questions about this and then figure out what the best way to move forward is.”

Zuckerberg said that he and his team expected the regulatory backlash and were prepared for it. As Facebook steps into the financial space, it understands that this is a highly regulated area and that they are going to face a lot of questions on it. However, assuring his determination to bring Libra to the market, Zuckerberg said:

“We are trying to provide a safe and stable and well-regulated product, so that’s always been the strategy and we’ll continue to engage here.”

Besides, Facebook other giants like Google and Amazon are also working on FinTech products which is making the traditional banking institutions jittery. The US Congress recently proposed a draft bill to keep ‘Big Tech’ out of finance and prevent these companies from launching digital assets products.

Global Regulators Give A Red Flag to Facebook Libra

Chiefs of the data protection agencies from around the world have raised privacy concerns posed by Facebook’s Libra. On Monday, August 5, the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published a joint statement from the data privacy commissioners from Albania, Australia, Canada, Burkina Faso, the U.S, the EU, and the U.K. The said:

“while Facebook and [its crypto wallet-focused entity] Calibra have made broad public statements about privacy, they have failed to specifically address the information handling practices that will be in place to secure and protect personal information.”

The privacy commissioners have released a set of questions for Facebook to answer. This includes how the Libra network aims to bring transparency to the end-users while providing highest levels of data security.

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Bhushan Akolkar

Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.

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