fintech

Facebook CEO grilled on anti-vaccine content
Rep. Bill Posey demands fairness for vaccine questioners

Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing today. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican congressman’s grilling of Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s approach to anti-vaccination content exposed the high-wire balancing act the platform now faces as it seeks to balance a public commitment to free expression with efforts to clamp down on disinformation.

At first glance, the line of questioning Wednesday by GOP Rep. Bill Posey of Florida appeared odd and out of step with a hearing dominated by a discussion of Libra, the digital cryptocurrency the company hopes to establish.

Zuckerberg threatened with Facebook breakup
At hearing, lawmakers press founder and CEO over Libra cryptocurrency plan

Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify at House Financial Services hearing on its cryptocurrency proposal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Facebook has ‘a lot of work to do’ Zuckerberg tells committee

The view Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, will have during the House Financial Services hearing intended to examine the impacts of Facebook on the financial services and housing sectors on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and chief executive officer of Facebook, told a House Committee on Wednesday the company has faced “a challenging few years” but argued plans to launch a new cryptocurrency called Libra would have a positive impact for society.

Zuckerberg to face criticism over cryptocurrency, other issues
Democrats and Republicans will interrogate the Facebook CEO on Wednesday over a number of issues

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to face bipartisan criticism Wednesday when he appears before the House Financial Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conciliatory-sounding Mark Zuckerberg will face questions Wednesday about Facebook’s world-altering ambitions from congressional critics of both parties.

Democrats and Republicans are expected to interrogate the Facebook CEO over the plan to launch Libra, a cryptocurrency pegged to a basket of global currencies and managed by a consortium of multinational corporations, as well as the company’s role in the spread of political propaganda, alleged violations of housing legislation, dominance of online advertising, monetization of users’ data and censoring of right-wing media.

Facebook posts biggest quarterly lobby tab, as business, health interests dominate K Street
Impeachment is not slowing down lobbying efforts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2018. Facebook spent a record amount on lobbying this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook is on pace to spend more on federal lobbying this year than ever before, according to public disclosures out this week, as the social media giant’s CEO prepares to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The company — at the center of debates over the spread of false information, data privacy and others — spent $12.3 million to lobby the federal government in the first nine months of the year. In 2018, Facebook shelled out $12.6 million for 12 months of lobbying.

Duo seeks to bridge information divide in fintech industry
Group calls for using data to achieve better credit access

Kelly Thompson Cochran, deputy director of FinRegLab, left, and Melissa Koide, CEO of FinRegLab. The startup research group is credited with drawing attention to fintech's ability to improve Americans' lives. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

When a diverse coalition, including big banks and a civil rights group, this summer called for speedier deployment of cash-flow data to widen Americans’ access to credit, it was a little-known startup research organization that brought them together.

FinRegLab is a new Washington research group led by two women with deep ties to the financial technology industry as well as to Capitol Hill. They are credited with drawing attention to fintech’s ability to improve Americans’ lives. 

Blockchain technology may help streamline the flow of $550 billion dollars this year
Fintech Beat, Ep. 24

Remittances are poised to grow to $550 billion this year, making them the single biggest source of external funding for recipient economies, according to the World Economic Forum. More money is pumped into developing countries this way than by direct investment. But it's often costly and inefficient. Fintech, specifically blockchain technology, may be able to help.

Commerce watchdog will monitor efforts to keep 2020 census secure
GAO and lawmakers have raised security concerns over Census Bureau’s IT systems

The Commerce Department inspector general will be monitoring the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog will take a look at the Census Bureau’s efforts to keep the 2020 census secure, the inspector general said in a letter Thursday.

The announcement follows a trail of security concerns about Census Bureau systems for next year’s count from the Government Accountability Office and members of Congress. Next year’s census will allow an online response option for most of the country for the first time, along with traditional mail and phone response.

DeFazio: Uber, Lyft need to ‘clean up their acts’
DeFazio said ride-hailing companies must change if they want partnerships with agencies using federal dollars

Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., left, and ranking member Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., conduct a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing in February 2019. DeFazio said the committee is still struggling on how to regulate ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft hope to ever partner with agencies that use federal dollars, “they are going to have to clean up their acts,” the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Wednesday.

Noting reports of explosive growth of those companies as well as low-paid and unvetted drivers, the panel’s subcommittee on highways and transit is wrestling with how best to regulate a burgeoning industry that has recently advocated for federal dollars as it grapples with massive losses.

Some lawmakers question amount of time spent in committees
How sustainable are members’ often packed and chaotic schedules?

California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier sits on four committees and seven subcommittees, one of the most packed rosters in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House parliamentarian brought the hammer down on the Education and Labor Committee in April, ending a long-standing practice that allowed panel members from both parties to vote on bills in committee on a flexible schedule — a violation of the House ban on proxy voting.

Members say their schedules have become so hectic and compressed that the courtesy, which the committee has extended for years, is needed. But the practice raises a bigger question: How sustainable are members’ often packed and chaotic schedules?