You knew Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency would come under scrutiny as soon as it became official, and the United States government isn’t wasting any time. House financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters has issued a statement calling on Facebook to pause development of Libra until Congress and regulatory bodies have had a chance to review it. The social network has “repeatedly shown a disregard” for safeguarding user information, Waters said, suggesting that privacy problems could return to haunt this product.
The congresswoman also said that Facebook executives should testify concerning Libra as a part of that oversight.
We’ve asked Facebook for comment. As a part of the announcement, though, it launched a Libra Association whose aim is to supervise the currency outside of Facebook’s control. Calibra, the digital wallet for the new monetary format, is meant to share only limited information with Facebook and have “strong protections” such as automated fraud checks.
Those measures may not satisfy politicians. Various federal and state regulators are investigating Facebook’s behavior in recent years and there’s no doubt that the internet giant has been awash in privacy debacles even after the Cambridge Analytica scandal had seemingly wound down. Waters and others just don’t have much of a historical basis to trust what Facebook says, although it appears to be learning its lessons.