John Harris

Journalist & Author

If Facebook or Google create their own currency, they can control our lives | John Harris

Facebook’s Libra is the last thing the world needs – big tech’s use of our data threatens to intrude even on financial transactions

Dystopian fiction – from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange to Russell T Davies’s spectacular recent BBC1 series Years and Years – is usually intended to take elements of the present and then imagine a future in which they have become inescapable, so as to warn us of what might already be in our midst.

But the 21st century is challenging this technique in one bracing sense: the way the world now seems to race beyond the wildest aspects of our collective imagination before we have even started to think about what might come next. Consider last week’s news about Facebook, and the fact that three years of corporate disgrace – and rising noise from legislators about bringing the tech giant to heel – have yet to slow its terrifying quest to insinuate its workings into every area of our lives. Now, in a move that could have been taken from a futuristic novel, it wants to create nothing less than a new global currency.

Facebook will know the people and companies with whom its users have financially interacted, and that is likely to only be the start

What is Libra?

Related: Facebook co-founder: Libra currency could give firms excess power

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