Oct 23, 2019

As Zuckerberg hearing opens, Maxine Waters lays into Facebook

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The agenda for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's return to Capitol Hill Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee is largely devoted to Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Libra.

Yes, but: Rep. Maxine Waters, the committee's chair, lit into Facebook in her opening statement, making clear that the hearing would be about all the other charges lawmakers have leveled against the social network, too — including monopolistic behavior, discrimination, privacy violations, breaches in election security, and whether the government should break up Facebook.

What they're saying: Waters charged Facebook with conducting "a massive voter suppression effort that will move at the speed of a click."

"Your claim to promote freedom of speech does not ring true, Mr. Zuckerberg. Perhaps you believe that you are above the law."
— Maxine Waters

Go deeper

Mark Zuckerberg assailed from all directions in Hill marathon

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 50 members of Congress barraged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from all directions at a six-hour House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday that ranged far afield from its ostensible topic — Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Libra.

Driving the news: Instead, Wednesday's hearing focused on Facebook's handling of discrimination and civil rights and its lack of diversity, its role in elections, free speech and content moderation, monopolistic behavior, anonymity, terrorism, child sexual abuse, and more.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Facebook debuts payment system, taking on Venmo

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook on Tuesday announced Facebook Pay, an online payment system that will allow users across its services to send payments to one another. The new product, separate from its Libra cryptocurrency effort, puts the social network giant in competition with Venmo and others.

Why it matters: Once again, Facebook will be asking users to hand over more sensitive information when it is under fire for how it manages the information and access it already has.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019

The sovereign state of Facebook

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's scale and power have often made it seem more a kind of quasi-sovereign nation than a traditional company — and right now it's looking more like a failing state than a thriving one.

The big picture: Digital giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are making the kinds of decisions about speech, personal safety, political power and financial relationships that have belonged to governments in the past. But at heart they are profit-making corporations with only limited competence in these domains, so their choices frequently go awry.