It all seems to be going wrong for social media giant Facebook.
On the one side, politicians are lining up to trash the company, with Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren’s March threat to break Facebook up back in the spotlight.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s hotly-anticipated bitcoin rival libra, which was scheduled for launch some time next year, is beset by troubles–even when a new survey has suggested it could be Facebook’s saving grace.
Warren, who has recently climbed in the polls to challenge other Democrat front runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, yesterday branded Facebook part of a “corrupt system” in response to leaked comments Zuckerberg made in July that he will “go to the mat” to fight Warren’s plans to smash Facebook into pieces.
A big part of Zuckerberg’s attempt to get Facebook back on track and help offset allegations of corruption and privacy and data mismanagement is the libra cryptocurrency project, but that now appears to be unravelling.
Last week, Zuckerberg warned Facebook might not meet the June 2020 launch date for the bitcoin rival, unveiled earlier this year and designed to act as a global currency.
Regulators and leaders around the world have voiced opposition to libra in its current form, with U.S. president Donald Trump unleashing a Twitter tirade against what he sees as challengers to the dominance of the mighty U.S. dollar.
Yesterday, it was reported payment giants Visa and Mastercard, among others, are weighing their involvement in Facebook’s libra project–many of whom are vital to its success.
Visa and Mastercard are meant to be part of a group of companies, including the likes of Uber and Vodafone, that Facebook has called the Libra Association, intended to manage the cryptocurrency project.
However, politicians in India, France and Germany remain concerned over the power libra could hand Facebook, although a new survey suggests the public think cryptocurrencies could help make an honest company of Facebook.
Almost half (47%) of people surveyed said they believe that use of cryptocurrencies for online payments abroad will improve their concerns over how Facebook handles privacy, with 25% saying it would not have an effect, and 20% saying it will make their concerns worse.
And those who are more familiar with blockchain and cryptocurrency technology are more hopeful still it will help to improve Facebook’s privacy and data sharing problems, the survey, carried out by comparison website MoneyTransfers, found.
“This tells us that even though Facebook is having trust and privacy issues from users, the use of cryptocurrencies will not impact these concerns even further,” said MoneyTransfers spokesperson Artiom Pucinskij.
“In fact, based on our results, it might improve their current privacy position.”
Earlier this year, a public poll found Facebook’s newly-announced libra was already almost as well known as bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency by market value, with researchers finding the project had generated “substantial” public interest.