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Mark Zuckerberg is in Washington to get more friends for Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg as he testified before Congress in April 2018.
Bill Clark/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is back in Washington D.C. in an attempt to win over Congress despite his company’s many privacy mishaps. 

Axios reports that Zuckerberg has meetings and dinners planned this week with lawmakers. It’s the first time the social media exec has been to the Capital since he had to testify before Congress amid privacy investigations in 2018. 

While there are no public appearances planned, Zuckerberg will be meeting with policymakers behind closed doors. He’s likely trying to make a few more friends in Congress in the wake of harsh bipartisan criticism of both Facebook and Zuckerberg himself.

The Facebook CEO is reportedly meeting with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who has been a critic of tech giants like Facebook in the past. 

Hawley has said he wants to ban autoplay videos and infinite scroll, both found on Facebook and Instagram. He also introduced a bill that would hold major tech companies like Facebook or YouTube liable for anything posted on their platform. 

On Wednesday night, Zuckerberg had dinner with a few senators, which was organized by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).

“This wasn’t a dinner where we’re trying to negotiate a specific piece of legislation,” Warner said in an MSNBC interview on Thursday. Instead, senators expressed their (many) concerns with Facebook to Zuckerberg in-person.

Zuckerberg’s visit comes amid a flurry of privacy mishaps on Facebook’s part over the course of several years. Of course, in July, Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a $5 billion settlement over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other privacy issues.

In August, Bloomberg reported that Facebook outsourced contractors to listen in on your audio messenger chats and transcribe them. Then, earlier this month, millions of phone numbers associated with users’ Facebook accounts were discovered in an exposed database.

It appears that Facebook has been trying to clean up its act lately. On September 17, the platform announced an oversight board that would have the ability to overrule Zuckerberg on some decisions.

“If someone disagrees with a decision we’ve made, they can appeal to us first, and soon they will be able to further appeal to this independent board. The board’s decision will be binding, even if I or anyone at Facebook disagrees with it. The board will use our values to inform its decisions and explain its reasoning openly and in a way that protects people’s privacy,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter following the announcement of the Board. 

Digital Trends reached out to Facebook for comment on Zuckerberg’s visit, but we haven’t received a response yet. 

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Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
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