Zuckerberg Asks Congress to Be Friends
It's day two in the hot seat for Mark Zuckerberg.
And if the Facebook chief was hoping his congressional appearance would help stave off a regulatory push, his Senate testimony yesterday will give him pause.
“Your user agreement sucks,” Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, told the 33-year-old CEO. “I don’t want to vote to have to regulate Facebook, but by God I will.”
A photo snapped of his notes indicated that Zuckerberg was well prepared for the questioning, and his performance helped Facebook's stock rebound. But he'll likely face more grilling at a House committee today, as he tries to explain how data from as many as 87 million users was captured by Cambridge Analytica, a British firm with ties to the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.
Facebook has promised to improve transparency, saying, for instance, that it would create a searchable archive for federal election ads.
Yet some lawmakers have said they didn’t view Facebook’s recent steps as enough. With the November midterm elections fast approaching — and control of Congress in the balance — they personally have a lot riding on making sure the data leaks that occurred before the presidential vote aren't repeated.
Syria response | For the second time in a less than a year, Trump is weighing a military response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria. This time, he’s under pressure to hit harder and take bigger risks. The prospect of direct participation by France — and possibly other allies such as the U.K. — could provide greater legitimacy for an operation that otherwise would risk criticism as violating international law, Daniel Flatley, Tony Capaccio and Gregory Viscusi report.
Mueller v. Trump | Trump has been advised he has authority to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a White House spokeswoman said, even as top Republicans in Congress warned that doing so may put his presidency at risk. It marked a shift in the administration’s message on Trump’s attitude toward Mueller, who's investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, following the president’s angry response to a Monday raid on the office of his longtime lawyer.
Trade tensions ease | Trump praised Xi Jinping’s “kind words” on trade after the Chinese leader reaffirmed pledges to open his nation’s banking and manufacturing sectors. While the warm words cheered markets, it may be only a temporary respite: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump is still looking for “concrete action” from China as his administration threatens tariffs on $150 billion worth of goods.
Battle for influence | A remote Iranian port could be the next trigger point for geopolitical tensions between India and China. New Delhi has pledged more than $500 million to develop the strategically located port of Chabahar — roughly 1,800 kilometers (1,110 miles) from Tehran — yet constant delays have prompted Iran to turn to Beijing in the hope of speeding up construction.
Targeted oligarch | Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska's decades-long pursuit of acceptance and a visa to the U.S. came crashing to an end with crushing sanctions that have wiped out half the value of his company, Rusal, overnight and prompted metal exchanges to stop accepting its aluminum. The U.S. singled him out partly because he'd tried so hard for a visa and “had too high a profile,” Stephanie Baker reports.
And finally ... For Trump, there'll be no gilt-edged invitation, no a slice of lemon and elderflower cake and no sight of a royal carriage ride to Windsor Castle — Like U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, he's been left off the guest list of the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle aren't coming either because the couple decided not to ask any politicians to witness their nuptials. That means there are no immediate plans for the president to visit Britain, where he’s been warned he’s likely to be greeted by protests.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.