Amid its brazen censorship of conservative viewpoints, calls for antitrust action to break up the company and its role in influencing elections, social media giant Facebook unveiled plans for a new cryptocurrency called Libra this week.
The digital currency, which Facebook says will be the basis of a new global payment and financial system, is backed by over a dozen other companies.
The cryptocurrency is called Libra and the coin will be governed independently from Facebook by the Libra Association. Users will be able to send Libra via the Facebook-owned companies WhatsApp and Messenger. Facebook will also allow its online retail partners to allow its customers to use the coin in many locations online.
Silicon Valley firms including PayPal, Uber, Stripe and Book.com are fully supporting the currency, investing approximately $10 million each to fund further development and become part of the Libra Association. Visa and Mastercard are reportedly also investors.
Facebook’s 2.4 billion monthly users will be able to change dollars and other international currencies into its new digital coins, which can then be used on the internet.
“Success will mean that a person working abroad has a fast and simple way to send money to family back home, and a college student can pay their rent as easily as they can buy a coffee,” states Facebook in its documentation of Libra,” Facebook’s white paper on the project states.
Facebook is also reportedly developing ATM-like machines in which people can convert their dollars into Libra.
Meanwhile, Facebook is labeling prominent conservative figure as “Hate Agents” and removing them from its platform. Leading conservative pundits including Infowars host Alex Jones, Infowars contributor and YouTube star Paul Joseph Watson, journalist and activist Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos were banned from the platform in May. Facebook has also been shutting down traffic to conservative websites since the 2016 election.
The company, however, allows leftist calls to violence to remain online. A number of militant and extremist leftist groups are still operating without any issue whatsoever across Facebook, Far Left Watch notes.
The social media giant would have the capacity to employ its discriminatory practice to deny the use of its monetary system from conservatives it deems as “Hate Agents.”
The tech giant’s new cryptocurrency is drawing criticism from all sides of the political spectrum.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) warns Facebook is “expanding their monopoly” with its new Libra digital currency.
“We need to see exactly what their specific proposals are, but I’m very concerned about Facebook’s behavior on a range of fronts. I’m concerned about their size, I’m concerned about their anti-competitive conduct, I’m concerned about their rampant violations of privacy,” Hawley told Yahoo News Tuesday.
When asked if he trusted Facebook with his money, he laughed, stating “no, I don’t trust Facebook with anything.”
The biggest issues with Facebook is that it’s impossible to escape the company’s influence, he argued.
“People who say, ‘I’m never having anything to do with Facebook. I’m not going to use their platform’ — well, then it turns out that their network is all over the web. It turns out that their code is everywhere,” he said. “This is part of what being a monopoly means and having all of this market power is that even when you say, ‘I don’t want anything to do with them,’ they keep coming and finding you. And they keep coming and taking your personal information. I mean, we’ve got to put a stop to this.”
House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) assures Facebook’s new cryptocurrency is dangerous and will face intense scrutiny,
“We’re going to move aggressively and very quickly to deal with what is going on with this new cryptocurrency,” Waters said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Thursday. “I think it’s very important for them to stop right now what they’re doing so that we can get a handle on this.”
“I’ve asked them to place a moratorium on moving forward with Libra,” Waters continued. “We don’t have a regulatory agency to oversee who they are and what they’re doing. This is like starting a bank without having to go through any steps to do it and of course, we have some questions about Facebook and some of the ways that is has conducted itself in the past.”
“They’re creating their own cryptocurrency, they’re going to be located in Switzerland, it’s going to be an alternative to the dollar, and so yes, I think it’s very important for them to stop right now what they’re doing so that we can get a handle on this,” Waters added. “We have not held any hearings, we’ve got to protect consumers, we don’t know who all is involved in this, we know that there are about 27 other companies in this network and we’re talking about big companies that are involved with them where they will all be an alternative to the dollar so this is serious and we must ask them for a moratorium.”
Facebook is attempting to attract its current user base to use it’s Libra cryptocurrency in 2020.