One of the most vocal detractors of Facebook in the senate has challenged the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg to sell WhatsApp and Instagram during a private discussion on Thursday afternoon.
Data Privacy Concerns
The two platforms are among the social media giant's biggest acquisitions over the past 15 years.
Sen. Josh Hawley, a conservative Republican from Missouri, said he told Zuckerberg to sell Facebook's WhatsApp and Instagram properties to prove he is serious about protecting data privacy.
The platform has been beset by privacy concerns following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and reports about how it handles its users' data.
The senator, a member of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, said that instead of moving users personal data from WhatsApp and Instagram to the company's core platform, Facebook should put a wall around these services or sell them off.
Stamping Out Competition Through Acquisitions
WhatApp and Instagram are among some of the 70 companies that Facebook acquired over the years, giving it leverage to easily snuff out competition.
Hawley also said that by selling these properties, Facebook can prove it does not have to buy companies to innovate.
Zuckerberg, however, did not think that it was a great idea.
Ending Support For Internet Censorship Act
Zuckerberg and Hawley's meeting also reportedly discussed about Facebook's content moderation, which Hawley claims has bias against conservatives.
Earlier this year, the senator introduced a bill, the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, that would remove tech platforms' legal immunity from liability over their users' content if they do not submit a third-party assessment to show that their algorithms and processes are politically neutral.
"This legislation simply states that if the tech giants want to keep their government-granted immunity, they must bring transparency and accountability to their editorial processes and prove that they don't discriminate," Hawley said.