Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah, provided Facebook guidance for 2020. The CEO said that the company would stand for its principles, regardless of whether it ‘pisses off’ a host of people or not. Could this stance change how people view Libra?
Specifically, Zuckerberg spoke about strong encryption and free speech as the centerpiece of the new approach. Both of these areas have been hotly debated, with Facebook taking serious heat in December for its political ad rules.
The company had spent the better part of the current administration hotly debating how political ads should be regulated. Much of the debate centered around whether Facebook should independently verify news stories before allowing ads to run them.
Zuckerberg, however, has now taken the reigns off completely. Instead, the company will simply allow freedom of expression without verification for advertisers. The shift will likely rile a host of political feathers, but Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to care.
What About Libra?
At face value, the announcement appears to be a step forward for ‘the people’ against the establishment. However, the political fallout could jeopardize Zuckerberg’s chances and getting his digital currency Libra off the ground.
The international payment platform, a centralized stablecoin built within Facebook, has already faced legislative scrutiny. Many lawmakers have called for a complete denial of the coin, citing the dangers of money laundering and terrorism.
Zuckerberg had seemed to be courting the Congressional decision-makers, seeking their potential approval. However, this new movement away from transparency and news validation may well derail the process.
Rock and a Hard Place
With the announcement, Zuckerberg puts himself in a proverbial bind. For Libra to receive support from governmental sources, it must be increasingly transparent. Without transparency, few governments will likely approve the coin for use.
However, transparency on the platform requires the CEO to limit secure encryption and to curtail free speech. Both of these are antithetical to Zuckerberg’s views on Facebook’s purpose. The conundrum is real.
As for whether or not the CEO continues, the current trajectory remains to be seen. However, Libra naysayers point to the centralized problems as a reason for Bitcoin being the future of digital money instead.