Washington: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker’s call to break his company, saying he’s not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram at any cost. Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri Republican) tweeted that he met Zuckerberg during his visit to Washington, DC on Thursday, and asked him to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.
“Just finished meeting with @facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Had a frank conversation. Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition. 1) Sell WhatsApp & Instagram 2) Submit to independent, third-party audit on censorship. He said no to both,” tweeted Hawley, one of Facebook’s biggest critics.
Zuckerberg also met President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. “Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of @Facebook in the Oval Office today,” tweeted Trump. This is Facebook CEO’s first public trip to Washington since he testified before House and Senate committees in April last year over Cambridge Analytica data scandal affecting 87 million users globally.
According to media reports, Zuckerberg met several lawmakers this time and discussions included allegations that Facebook curtails conservative speech. As the chorus grows to break up Facebook, the social networking platform’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said that it won’t serve any purpose.
“You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don’t address the underlying issues people are concerned about,” she had said earlier. Several US senators have called for breaking up the social network amid repeated data breaches and privacy violations on the platform.
Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, has stressed that authorities should take a serious look at breaking up Facebook as the social network platform is a “utility that has gone unregulated”. Another Democratic 2020 candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, has also stressed upon the possibility of breaking up Facebook.
Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process.