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Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal Demands Facebook CEO Appear in Congress

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sen. Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal on Wednesday demanded that Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg appear before Congress to address allegations of a company whistleblower who accused the company of knowingly harming children with its products.

Blumenthal accused the platform of “strengthening and arming hate speech” and criticized the director for spending Monday sailing a day before a powerful subcommittee of commerce leveled accusations about the multi-billion dollar company.

“He should spend more time looking at the platform,” Blumenthal annoyed. He said he had already “invited” the tech titan to testify, and that he could appear in a few weeks.

“We can’t count on Mark Zuckerberg to tell us the truth,” he said, “he’s lost all confidence if he ever had it.”

“We can’t count on Mark Zuckerberg to tell us the truth,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has invited the director to testify before his subcommittee.

He blames the platform for allowing ‘online bullying’ with an algorithm that feeds the ‘anxieties and insecurities of teenagers’.

He spoke a day after Facebook whistleblower Frances Hougan testified that the company knew its products were harmful to children.

“Facebook represents the same moment of reckoning and a moment of truth,” he said CNNs New day.

“He’s back from sailing, but he hasn’t discovered he needs to get clean yet. And we will ask him to testify before our subcommittee. If he disagrees with [Hougan] he should come and tell.’

Zuckerberg posted to his Instagram account a photo of himself sailing on a 26-foot sailboat.

Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing titled

Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing titled “Protecting Children Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower”

Blumenthal reprimanded Zuckerberg for sailing on Monday as the whistleblower caused a furore

Blumenthal reprimanded Zuckerberg for sailing on Monday as the whistleblower caused a furore

Here, Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018. Blumenthal wants him to appear before his committee to address the charges of a to tackle whistleblower

Here, Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2018. Blumenthal wants him to appear before his committee to address the charges of a to tackle whistleblower

He said he hoped Zuckerberg would appear in the “next weeks” or “month or so.”

But he said Zuckerberg “would rather avoid these problems. He said Zuckerberg’s modus operandi was “essentially no acknowledgment, no confession, no apology.” No action. There’s nothing to see here – I’m sailing.’

He compared what happened to the company to when “Big Tobacco” was confronted with a series of internal documents that prosecutors used to show companies that they knew the dangers of their products.

Zuckerberg posted a message to employees saying the whistleblower’s allegations are “not true.”

“The argument that we intentionally push content that angers people for profit is very illogical,” he said. “We make money from ads and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to malicious or angry content. And I don’t know of any tech company that wants to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction.’

‘We attach great importance to issues such as safety, well-being and mental health. It’s hard to see coverage that misrepresents our work and motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us don’t recognize the false image of the company being painted,” he said.

Blumenthal made a blistering statement at Tuesday’s hearing calling Facebook “morally bankrupt” and criticizing Zuckerberg for sailing to Hawaii with his wife Priscilla Chan instead of answering questions from lawmakers.

“Mark Zuckerberg should look at himself in the mirror today,” he said. “And yet instead of taking responsibility and showing leadership, Mr. Zuckerberg goes sailing.”

“Mark Zuckerberg, you have to come before this committee, you have to explain to Frances Hougan, to us, to the world and to the parents of America – what you were doing and why you were doing it,” he scolded the director.

Haugen told the senators that the CEO of no comparable company has as much unilateral control as Zuckerberg.

Mark has a very unique role in the tech industry as he owns more than 55% of all voting shares for Facebook. There are no comparable powerful companies that are so unilaterally controlled,” she said. “There’s no one holding him accountable right now but himself.”

She said “the money stops with” Facebook’s tech billionaire owner, adding that “Facebook must take responsibility for the consequences of its choices.”

Later in the hearing, Haugen said that Zuckerberg himself has even made choices that put involvement above public safety.

“We have a number of elective papers that include notes from briefings with Mark Zuckerberg in which he chose Facebook-defined metrics, such as ‘meaningful social interactions’, over changes that would have significantly reduced disinformation, hate speech and other incendiary content,” she told Sen. Ben Ray Lujan.

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