Facebook has two competing missions – make the world more open and connected, and make a lot of money. And as Facebook attempts to serve both of those missions, they wreak havoc on the rest of us.
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade
Yesterday the U.S. Senate Banking Committee assembled to hear Facebook’s David Marcus explain how the company wants to create a global digital currency called Libra, to be run by a Switzerland-based global organization called the Libra Association, made up of 27 members from the fields of payment systems, technology, telecommunications, blockchain services, venture capital, nonprofits and academic institutions.
Given Facebook’s serial history of abusing the privacy rights of its users and selling their data without their permission, not to mention its role in facilitating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, we immediately went to check out the names of the nonprofits that had signed up to monitor this sprawling international monetary system cooked up in a Facebook lab in a year’s time. We were hoping to see names like American Civil Liberties Union, Public Citizen, Consumer Federation of America, or Center for Constitutional Rights. No such luck. Here’s who Facebook lists under nonprofits, multilateral organizations and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking. We have to admit to ignorance of any of these groups.
At the end of the hearing, after Facebook’s Marcus had struggled to explain the checks and balances of his short-on-specifics plan, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said he suspected that Americans were going to view this organization as something like Spectre (the evil international surveillance organization) from the James Bond movie series.
It felt like Van Hollen had just read our minds…