Email about FB acquiring Google ‘sounds like a joke’: Zuckerberg

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2018 (Xinhua) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., United States, on April 10, 2018. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress in written testimony on Monday that he is “responsible for” not preventing the social media platform from being used for harm, including fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS)

San Francisco, July 30 (IANS) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a US Congress panel that an email that he had written about eight years ago where he mentioned the possibility of buying Google now sounds like a joke.

Zuckerberg faced fire from the US lawmakers during an antitrust hearing on Wednesday over the company’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

The lawmakers confronted the Facebook CEO over the company’s apparent strategy of removing competition through acquisition.

To grill Zuckerberg, the lawmakers presented before him emails that he had himself written in the past.

Following questions on acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, Colorado Democrat Joe Neguse told Zuckerberg that “Facebook also tried to buy other competitive startups.”

“In fact as (subcommittee chairmen Rep. Jerrold Nadler) noted, you did tell one of Facebook’s senior engineers in 2012 that you can, quote, ‘likely buy, just buy any competitive startup, but it’ll be a while before we can buy Google.’ Do you recall writing that email?”

In an attempt to downplay the episode, Zuckerberg said that he did not remember it specifically, but added that it now “sounds like a joke.”

Zuckerberg wrote that email right after announcing acquisition of Instagram to Facebook employees.

Giving a reply to that email, an employee wrote “Well played.”

Zuckerberg mentioned the possibility of buying Google while writing back to that employee.

“I don’t take it as a joke,” Neguse said, as he explained the seriousness of the context in which Zuckerberg had written that email.

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