Facebook CEO has dinner with US senators amid probes


Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg had dinner with a group of U.S. senators where they discussed the role and responsibility of social media.

“The participants had a discussion touching on multiple issues, including the role and responsibility of social media platforms in protecting our democracy, and what steps Congress should take to defend our elections, protect consumer data, and encourage competition in the social media space,” Senator Mark Warner’s office said in a statement after the dinner.

The dinner in Washington D.C. was organized by Warner at the request of Facebook, it added, and Zuckerberg is expected to meet more lawmakers Thursday.

Zuckerberg’s meeting with senators came at a time when representatives of global tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google testified Wednesday on Capitol Hill about the spread of extremism online and the effectiveness of measures taken to prevent violent content.

It was the first time the Facebook chief executive returned to Washington since April 2018, when he testified in front of lawmakers for 10 hours about a data-sharing scandal.

On Sept. 6, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia launched an investigation into Facebook for ”possible antitrust violations.”

“Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers. I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk,” said James in a statement, promising to ”use every investigative tool” at government’s disposal.

Facebook agreed in July to a record $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission concerning privacy violations of 87 million users whose user information was inappropriately shared with Cambridge Analytica, a now-defunct political consultancy firm from the U.K.

U.S. President Donald Trump on numerous occasions expressed his distrust of big tech, especially Google, which Trump accused of working against him in U.S. presidential elections.

Google rejected Trump’s allegations and accusations.
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