Zuckerberg ‘Charms’ Lawmakers, But Privacy Push Continues

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent a third day in Washington, D.C. meeting with lawmakers, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The move comes as the social media giant is battling accusations of antitrust impropriety and a lack of proper preparation against misinformation ahead of the 2020 election.

On Friday (Sept. 20), Zuckerberg planned to see House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. He had already met with Oregon Congressman Greg Walden and Judiciary Committee member Doug Collins of Georgia.

Collins said he and Zuckerberg had a “great conversation.”

Zuckerberg met with President Donald Trump on Thursday, along with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino.

Trump tweeted that “it was a nice meeting.”

The past two days have been busy in the capital for Zuckerberg, as he’s had to defend his company from many who say it should be broken up.

The Judiciary antitrust subcommittee is doing a probe into tech monopolies, and it sent a letter to Facebook last week seeking information about how it acquired WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as in-company communications.

Zuckerberg has plans to meet the head of that committee, Rep. David Cicilline. 

Collins said he was glad that Zuckerberg came to Washington.

“I encouraged them to come to the table to help us out. This is not an adversarial role from my perspective,” Collins said. “It’s something that allows us to get information. And I think they were very open to that.”

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri had a terse exchange with Zuckerberg over the protection of user data. He said that he told Zuckerberg there should be independent audits of the way it reviews content and that there should be more separation between different platforms. Zuckerberg reportedly disagreed. 

“I said to him, ‘Prove that you are serious about data, sell WhatsApp, and sell Instagram.’ That’s what they should do,” Hawley said. “I think it’s safe to say he was not receptive to those suggestions.”