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Mark Zuckerberg and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Corbis via Getty Images

European lawmakers aggressively questioned Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday in Brussels about whether his company's social networking empire poses a competitive problem, but Facebook's CEO got out unscathed.

The bigger picture: Lawmakers scolded and needled Zuckerberg. But the meeting's format — which allowed him to address most of the questions in one big statement at the end — meant he didn't really have to give them answers.

What they're saying: EU lawmakers weren't satisfied with Zuckerberg's contention that Facebook isn't a monopoly. "It’s like somebody who has a monopoly in making cars saying, look I have a monopoly making cars but there is no problem, you can take a plane," said Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament, taking on the idea that Google or other companies could be seen as Facebook competitors.

What he said: "So from where I sit, it feels like there are new competitors coming up every day," Zuckerberg said. He argued that Facebook faces robust competition both in the market for consumer communications tools (a claim some have taken issue with, because Facebook owns many of the top apps in the space) and in advertising.

Lawmakers also asked about a range of other topics, including the upcoming European General Data Protection Regulation and the conservative contention that right wing viewpoints have seen their reach limited on Facebook. But the format worked to Zuckerberg's advantage, letting him get away with generalities.

What's next?: Zuckerberg is likely to have to answer some specific questions in writing. Lawmakers in the United Kingdom also continue to push for him to testify before a key Parliament committee. One reason Zuckerberg may be avoiding the U.K. Parliament: there, he might face expert questioners a la the EU lawmakers in a format more like the U.S. congress's rapid-fire interrogations.

Go deeper

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."