Author: Mark Zuckerberg
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In fact, since Libra published the Libra white paper on June 18, 2019, the Liberation, the US Congress has held four consecutive hearings. Prior to this, including the head of Libra, Calibra CEO David Marcus, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire and the US SEC Chairman were all present to answer or discuss questions about Libra and digital currency regulation.
This time, the US Congress will once again hold a hearing "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors", which will continue to discuss Facebook and its Launched Libra. However, unlike Libra, who was the first to appear, this time, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg went to Congress to attend the hearing and was the only witness.
Like David Marcus, Zuckerberg also published a testimony before the hearing. In this testimony, Zuckerberg has a new interpretation of Libra and called on the United States to actively embrace innovation.
The following is the full text of Zuckerberg’s testimony:
President Waters, senior member of McHenry and members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify today. More than 1 billion people in the world do not have a bank account, but if they have the right system, they can log in via their mobile phone. This includes 14 million Americans.
Being excluded from the financial system has had tangible consequences for people's lives – often the most difficult people pay the highest price. People pay too much, and it takes a long time to send the money home. The current system has failed them. The financial industry is stagnant and there is no digital financial architecture to support the innovation we need. I believe this problem can be solved, and Libra can help. Libra: Transfers and texting are as simple and secure as they are.
Libra will be a global payment system, fully supported by cash reserves and other highly liquid assets . I believe this is something that needs to be built, but I know that we are not the ideal messenger now. In the past few years, we have encountered many problems, and I believe that people hope that anyone other than Facebook can come up with this idea. But we care about this for a reason. Facebook is about putting power into people's hands. Our services enable people to express what is important to them and to build businesses that create opportunities.
It is also important to let people control their own money. A simple, secure, and stable way to transfer money is empowerment. In the long run, if this means more people trading on our platform, it will benefit our business. But even if it doesn't, it can help people around the world.
Before we move forward, there are some important risks that need to be addressed. There are also issues such as financial stability and counter-terrorism. I am discussing these risks here today and how we plan to deal with them. But I also hope that we can talk about the risks of not innovating . When we debated these issues, the rest of the world did not wait. China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months. Libra will be primarily supported by the US dollar, and I believe it will expand the US financial leadership, as well as our democratic values and global governance. If the United States does not innovate, our financial leadership will not be guaranteed.
We co-authored a white paper to bring this idea to the world and begin a dialogue with regulators, experts, and governments.
Today's hearing is an important part of this process. The issues we are discussing today are too important for any company to be alone. That's why we helped establish the Libra Association, a consortium of 21 companies and non-profit organizations that provide financial tools for everyone.
However, although the Libra Association is independent, we don't control it, but I want to be clear: Facebook will not participate in the release of the Libra payment system anywhere in the world until approved by US regulators . The last time I testified in Congress, I talked about looking at our responsibilities from a broader perspective. This includes ensuring that our services are used for good and to prevent harm. People should not be discriminated against in any of our services. We have policies that prevent hate speech and remove harmful content. But discrimination can also be reflected in the positioning and playback of advertisements.
As part of a settlement agreement with civil rights organizations, we have prohibited advertisers from using age, gender, or zip codes to target housing, employment, or credit opportunities, and we have limited the positioning of these ads based on interest. This is part of our commitment to support civil rights and prevent discrimination.
I also know that our company needs more different perspectives. Diversity brings better decision making and better service to our communities. We prioritize diversity in our recruitment and have made a commitment: within five years, we expect at least 50% of our employees to be women, people of color and other under-represented groups. We have made some progress. On Facebook, there are more people of color, women in technical and business roles, and people who are underrepresented in leadership. But I know that we still have a long way to go. For Facebook, this is a challenging year. I realize that we play an important role in society and we have a unique responsibility. I am fortunate that we are able to change people's lives. As long as we are here, I am committed to using our position to advance the great ideas that we believe can empower people.
The Libra project aims to promote financial inclusion by sending and receiving payments globally in a secure, cost-effective and efficient manner.
Studies have shown that access to financial services can help people escape poverty, which is especially important for women in developing economies. We believe this is a problem that can be solved and we want to be part of the solution. Libra is a potential approach and we are proud to have helped establish a 21-company alliance and social impact organization and are now working to advance this idea. Building this broad-based alliance is a positive step, and I welcome the dialogue that Libra has sparked. But by design, we don't want to lead these efforts. The Libra Association has been established with an appropriate governance structure and will be promoting this project from now on.
At Facebook, we are also exploring other ways to get more people to access financial services, such as reducing the cost of remittances through our existing platform. We recognize that other organizations are also addressing this challenge, and we support it.
We will continue to discuss our efforts with regulators. We understand that no matter how we promote inclusive finance, we must address regulatory concerns, including money laundering and terrorist financing, sanctions, and potential currency disruptions and systemic risks. I know that the Libra Association will notice these things in the process of development. On Facebook, we focus on these issues and explore what we can do as a company to solve inclusive financial problems. In addition, we understand the importance of maintaining transparency in our efforts.
I know that some people have expressed concerns about the Libra project and Facebook's role in it. I want to talk briefly about how we work hard to solve the problems we have heard.
First, we heard people worry that we are developing too fast. As we said from the beginning, we promise to take the time to get things done. We co-authored a white paper that began a dialogue with experts, regulators, and policy makers who oversee the stability and security of our financial system. It never intended to be the final conclusion of this project. Our goal is to signal the direction we want to go and start discussing how to get there. This dialogue is ongoing and we will continue to advocate responsible innovation in this area.
Second, some believe that we intend to bypass regulatory agencies and regulatory requirements. We want to be clear: Facebook will not participate in the Libra payment system anywhere in the world unless approved by all US regulators. We support Libra's postponement until it completely addresses regulatory issues in the United States.
We have met with regulatory authorities in 30 different jurisdictions. The association has been paying attention to regulators and other stakeholders, but members of the association, including Facebook and related affiliates, Calibra, are also talking to elected officials, including many members of Congress. This is how democratic supervision and review work.
Speaking of Calibra, I know that some people doubt whether we are trustworthy and can establish a payment service that protects consumers. We recognize that we have a responsibility to provide people with all the protection they expect when sending and receiving payments online. We have already done this in our service. For example, people buy products every day through Instagram shopping, which can help merchants of all sizes show customers what they might be interested in. People buy goods on the Facebook market and send money to friends and family through Messenger.
Facebook is committed to providing strong consumer protection for the financial information we receive, and I want to know how we handle this information:
We do not sell user data.
We don't use people's data to make decisions about borrowing or create credit reports.
We do not share information about loans or credit decisions with third parties.
We use transaction information generated on our products to improve our services, including advertising. However, we do not use people's payment account information for advertising purposes.
Payments made through Facebook-authorized payment subsidiaries will be subject to comprehensive anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing and sanction monitoring. Using our automated systems and manual review, we report suspicious payment activities to relevant authorities that meet our regulatory obligations. We have also developed a policy to prevent fraud.
We are committed to building a robust compliance system for the Calibra application, as well as strong consumer protection, customer support and password recovery. In addition to the automated tools to proactively monitor activities to detect fraud, Calibra also plans to return any unauthorized transactions.
I also realized that if people use Calibra, we will worry about not getting their financial data. We set up Calibra as a regulated subsidiary, which provides a clear separation between Facebook's social data and Calibra's financial data. Calibra does not share customer account information or financial data with Facebook, except to prevent fraud or criminal activity , when people explicitly choose to share their data, or when we have a legal obligation to do so.
The last question is whether Libra intends to replace sovereign currency and whether it is appropriate for private companies to participate in such innovation. I want to make it clear that this is not an attempt to create a sovereign currency. Like existing online payment systems, it is also a way for people to transfer money.
Monetary policy is the responsibility of the central bank, not Libra . Libra does not want to compete with any sovereign currency and does not want to enter the monetary policy arena. It will work with the Federal Reserve (fed) and other central banks responsible for monetary policy to ensure that this is the case. We expect the Libra Association's management framework to ensure that the association does not interfere with monetary policy. Libra was also designed with economic security and stability in mind, and it will be fully supported by Libra's reserves.
We also believe that Libra offers an opportunity to strengthen financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing. Many illegal activities are funded by cash. A digital payment system is easier to obtain security through upstream and downstream regulation and proper understanding of customer behavior. Law enforcement agencies and regulators can conduct their own analysis of chain activities.
I hope that we can find a way forward in this area, because we believe that responsible innovation like Libra will enable more people to get the financial tools that we take for granted.
Digital payment systems will become very important in the future. If the United States does not take the lead, other countries will. Foreign companies or countries can take action without our same regulatory oversight or commitment to transparency. We have seen how companies with different values limit people based on their beliefs. No one can guarantee that services that support democracy and express basic rights will win.
More broadly, our industry, our industry, and especially our company, is being reviewed more and more. Technology plays a more important role in our lives and society, and we make mistakes. But if health suspicions turn into full hostility, we will put a lot of progress at risk – not just in this world, where American technology companies have the opportunity to defend American values and be closer to home. . Six million Americans work in the Internet industry. Last year, our industrial investment exceeded $60 billion, helping to drive research and innovation in the country. The Internet industry accounts for 10.1% of US GDP. The services we provide create a lot of value for people's lives.
These jobs, investments, and innovations are not accidental. They are the result of our willingness to try new things – even if they are difficult, even if they are not always effective. I understand people's concerns about Libra. But I think that if companies are not willing to accept such challenges, but choose safer options to consolidate the status quo, this is not good for our country and the world. This will undermine our country's reputation for innovation, reduce our economic competitiveness, and ultimately concentrate more power on existing players than on people.
While we believe in innovation, we also recognize that we have a responsibility to ensure that the products and services we create are used in the good end. For example, people should not be discriminated against on Facebook.
1. Prevent discrimination in advertising
Advertisers on Facebook can choose to show their ads to people interested in a particular topic. This is an important part of our platform to democratize advertising. If you run a small company, you can show your ads to people who are more likely to be interested in them – for example, those who are interested in the specific products or services you offer.
Our policy has always prohibited discrimination, but we have made significant changes to our advertising platform to further prevent advertisers from abusing our tools to discriminate against their advertising goals.
Earlier this year, we announced changes in the management of housing, employment and credit advertising on our platform. This is part of a historic settlement agreement with civil rights organizations such as the National Fair Housing Alliance, based on ongoing input from civil rights experts. Advertisers who want to post ads on these topics must now go through a special ad buying process that doesn’t allow targeting by age, gender, or postal code. In this particular ad buying process, we limit the interest-based categories available to advertisers to a small number of interest categories that do not involve protected class characteristics. We allow people to search and view all current US housing ads through advertisers, regardless of the audience of the ads. We are committed to transcending settlement agreements, allowing people to search for employment and credit advertising in the United States on Facebook.
We still have a lot to do. But we are proud of these recent efforts and are proud of the message they convey, Facebook's commitment to civil rights and protecting users from potential discrimination. The National Fair Housing Alliance points out that the changes we are making "position … Facebook as a leader and leader in civil rights issues in the technology sector." ”
2. Our citizenship audit rights
Advertising is just one way people interact with our platform, and that's why we work to ensure that our policies are fair and equitable. Our engagement with civil rights leader Laura Murphy attests to this commitment.
In response to the feedback we received, we made some changes, including:
A civil rights task force was created and formally established. The working group meets once a month to reveal, discuss and resolve civil rights issues.
Extend our long-standing ban on white supremacy, including white nationalism and white separatism.
Try to prevent false information and interference with the upcoming elections and the 2020 census.
Combating voter suppression by updating our policies and taking more proactive measures. For example, during the US midterm elections of 2018, our team discovered and removed more than 45,000 voters who wanted to block people from voting. Before this content was reported to Facebook, we actively identified more than 90% of the content.
Our commitment to diversity
We know that we need to get a diverse perspective from our employees. That's why we prioritize diversity when hiring. We have a lot of work to do, and we are committed to achieving our goals. In the next five years, at least 50% of our employees are women, people of color and other vulnerable groups.
We value the diversity of Facebook because it leads to better decisions, better products and a better culture. It also ensures that the products we produce reflect the communities of people who use them around the world.
In terms of recruitment, we have adopted a diverse approach. This ensures that recruiters will recommend qualified candidates from underrepresented groups to hiring managers who wish to fill vacant positions. Since we started testing this method in 2015, we have seen a steady increase in the hiring rate for underrepresented people.
Today, there are more and more people with different backgrounds and experiences, more and more people of color, more and more women in technology and business, and more people are weak in Facebook leadership. We increase the proportion of women in leadership by recruiting and nurturing women leaders within the company. In the past few years, most of the new female leaders have been promoted internally. Last year, we spent more than $400 million on certified diversified suppliers, an increase of 73% over 2017. 34% of these suppliers are women-owned and 70% are minority-owned.
As part of our efforts, we strive to build strong relationships with support for people of color and women's organizations. We have partnerships with CodePath.org, the United Negro College Fund, and the history of black colleges and universities. We have an internship program, “Facebook University,” for students from disadvantaged groups. The “Facebook Summer Academy” is open to high school students in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and San Francisco. Our investment in K-12 education programs may not appear in recruitment statistics for many years, but we are committed to providing more people from disadvantaged groups with the skills and experience they need to find a career in the technology field.
I am the first person to admit that we still have a lot of work to do. In terms of diversity, we have not yet reached the level we need to achieve, especially at the leadership level. It took us too long to focus on diversity in a rigorous way, and as a result, the improvements we made did not drive as we hoped. But we are committed to this goal, and we will work hard to achieve what we know we need to achieve. If we can do this, Facebook will become a stronger company, more capable of advancing our mission and taking on the responsibilities that come with it.
For Facebook, this is a challenging year. We understand that there are still many things to do to meet people's expectations on issues such as privacy and security. We know that companies like Facebook have become part of people's daily lives, with huge responsibilities and many very difficult judgments. We don't think we should deal with these issues alone, which is why I call on governments and regulators to play a more active role in harmful content, protecting elections, privacy and data portability.
I know that we have a lot to do, but I also know that the problem of financial inclusiveness can be solved. I believe we can play a role in helping to find a solution. I hope that I can answer some of your questions today.