Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) one of Facebook’s leading critics in Congress said he told CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a solution to the social media company’s regulatory woes: selling off Instagram and WhatsApp, which he said would prove that Facebook is not afraid of competition and doesn’t “have to buy companies to innovate.”
Zuckerberg declined to take questions in the hallways of the Russell Senate Office Building following the meeting, but the senator said the executive was “not receptive to those suggestions.”
“If Facebook is serious about this privacy pivot, they will sell WhatsApp and they will sell Instagram, and they will abandon the attempt to harvest data across all of these platforms and use them so that they can make more money by directing more behavioral ads,” said Hawley.
“I said to him, prove that you’re serious about data. Sell WhatsApp and sell Instagram,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told reporters outside his office Thursday afternoon immediately following his private discussion with Zuckerberg. “Sell them right now and show that you have confidence in your core product, in the core Facebook product, prove that you don’t have to buy companies to innovate, that you can still design stuff at Facebook without just going to competitors, prove that you’re not afraid of competition.