Wednesday October 16, 2019
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Several Top-notch Companies Like Visa, Mastercard, EBay Quit Facebook’s Libra Project

The US lawmakers have attacked Facebook on its Libra project, calling it "delusional" and "dangerous"

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facebook, servicefriend, startup, cryptocurrency, libra
Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

In  a major jolt to Facebook, several top-notch companies like Visa, Mastercard and EBay have pulled out of the Libra cryptocurrency project ahead of their first meeting in Geneva on October 14.

PayPal was the first to announce its withdrawal from the Libra Association — the 28-member non-profit organisation formed by the social networking giant for the global roll out of its digital currency Libra next year.

“Over the course of a few hours, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe and Mercado Pago all bailed on the project. That meant every major US payment processor has exited the association,” reports The Verge.

David Marcus, Libra project head at Facebook, tweeted: “I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update. Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up”.

“Special thanks to @Visa and @Mastercard for sticking it out until the 11th hour. The pressure has been intense (understatement), and I respect their decision to wait until there’s regulatory clarity for @Libra_ to proceed, vs. the invoked threats (by many) on their biz,” he added.

The pull out is to avoid the US regulators who are scrutinizing Facebook and its subsidiaries.

facebook, servicefriend, startup, cryptocurrency, libra
Bitcoin, which has risen in value for eight consecutive days, received a boost after Facebook has said it would offer its own cryptocurrency, the Libra coin by end of June 2020. Pixabay

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before the US House of Representatives on October 23 to discuss concerns over ‘Libra’ that has run into rough weather.

Zuckerberg will be grilled by lawmakers and regulators during the Q&A session at the US House Financial Services Committee.

In July, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the committee sent a letter to Facebook requesting an immediate moratorium on the implementation of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency, Libra, and digital wallet, Calibra.

Also Read: Apple Planning to Integrate its Own 5G Modem in iPhones by the Year 2022

The US lawmakers have attacked Facebook on its Libra project, calling it “delusional” and “dangerous”.

According to a Visa spokesperson, the company “will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations”. (IANS)

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Facebook Raises Questions Over EU Ruling on Removing Content

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a "very troubling precedent"

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Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has raised objections over the European Union (EU) ruling that the bloc’s member countries can not only order the removal of content in their own jurisdiction, but all over the world.

According to the social networking giant, the ruling opens the door for courts to order the removal of content that is similar to the illegal speech, “meaning that something you posted might be removed even if you knew nothing about the earlier post that a European country had deemed illegal”.

“Imagine something you wrote and shared on Facebook was taken down, not because it violated our rules, and not because it broke the law in your country, but because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed,” Monika Bickert, VP, Global Policy Management at Facebook, said in a statement on Monday.

“Imagine as well that your speech was deemed illegal not by a judge who carefully weighed the facts, but by automated tools and technology,” she added.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook can be forced to remove content internationally.

The ruling arose from a personal defamation case brought by an Austrian politician.

The post in question shared a news article in which the Austrian politician had outlined her and her party’s views on immigration, together with a comment from a Facebook user strongly critiquing the Austrian politician.

facebook, WhatsApp, stories, feature
An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

The court’s ruling raises critical questions for freedom of expression, in two key respects, said Bickert.

First, it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on another country.

“This is especially important with laws governing speech, because what is legally acceptable varies considerably in different parts of the world and even within the EU. The ruling also opens the door for other countries around the world, including non-democratic countries who severely limit speech, to demand the same power,” said Facebook.

Second, the ruling might lead to a situation in which private internet companies could be forced to rely on automated technologies to police and remove “equivalent” illegal speech.

Also Read: 5G Carries Potential to Contribute to India’s GDP Growth by the Year 2025

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a “very troubling precedent”.

“We have had precedents but we have successfully fought them. This is one where a lot of the details of exactly how this gets implemented are going to depend on national courts across Europe, and what they define as the same content versus roughly equivalent content.

“This is something we and other services will be litigating and getting clarity on what this means. I know we talk about free expression as a value and I thought this was a fairly troubling development,” Zuckerberg added. (IANS)