Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg plans to defend the company in a hearing before the House antitrust subcommittee by arguing that hampering American technological innovation only aids China, a new report says.
Congressional investigators have reviewed thousands of internal Facebook documents to piece together the company’s motivation for acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp and to understand Zuckerberg’ thinking about competitors, Bloomberg reported.
Zuckerberg plans to defend the company’s decisions when he testifies before the House on July 29, saying Instagram and WhatsApp’s success under Facebook wasn’t inevitable — particularly Instagram which had only 13 employees and no revenue when it joined Facebook’s portfolio in 2012, according to Bloomberg.
Zuckerberg, who will testify in the hearing along with CEOs from Amazon, Google and Apple, will paint Facebook as an American success story in a competitive and unpredictable market, now threatened by the rise of Chinese social media apps.
He will argue that any weakening of U.S. companies will cede territory to Chinese companies, especially in high-growth markets like India, an argument he made in a 2019 hearing about the now-renamed cryptocurrency Libra.
“China is moving quickly to launch a similar idea in the coming months,” he said then. “If America doesn’t innovate, our financial leadership is not guaranteed.”
He also warned that China, as a country without democratic values, shouldn’t set the rules for the internet for the rest of the world.
His warnings on China come after years of failed attempts to woo China’s leaders so he could launch Facebook services in the country.
Tensions have escalated between China and the U.S. recently over a host of issues, including trade, Hong Kong’s autonomy and tech. Recently the Trump administration has said it is considering banning TikTok, a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance Ltd.