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Facebook Apology Tour: Brussels Edition

Facebook Apology Tour: Brussels Edition

Mark Zuckerberg’s privacy apology tour landed in Brussels on Tuesday — with a thud. In a highly compressed rehash of his marathon testimony before US Congress last month, the Facebook founder apologized for not taking a “broad enough view” of the company’s responsibilities to prevent foreign election interference, privacy abuses, and the like. He deflected tougher questions about breaking up his company and then time ran out before lawmakers could press him further.

But if Zuckerberg’s anodyne and apologetic performances on both sides of the Atlantic were roughly similar, the challenges his company faces in the US and Europe are very different. US lawmakers are unlikely to do much to rein in Facebook, but in Europe, emboldened regulators are taking a hard look privacy issues and whether companies that lord over massive amounts of data have too much market power. Meanwhile, the EU’s tough new data protection rules, which take effect across the bloc on Friday, are bigger than Beyoncé. Facebook and thousands of other companies around the world will have to follow them or risk huge fines.

Zuckerberg may have frustrated EU lawmakers by dodging their barbed questions, but in contrast to the toothless US, Europe is already forcing big changes to the way Facebook does business. It may only be a matter of time before the Facebook founder is back in Brussels for an extended groveling session.

Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?

After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on what to expect from President Biden's first 100 days:

It's Inauguration Day. And you can see behind me the Capitol Building with some of the security corridor set up that's preventing people like me from getting too close to the building, as Joe Biden gets sworn in as our 46th president. Historic day when you consider that you've got Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president, the first woman of color to be vice president.

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On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

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Kamala Harris was sworn in today as the first woman Vice President of the United States. That means she's only a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office — and could well be the Democratic candidate to replace Joe Biden if the 78-year-old president decides to not run for reelection in 2024. Should Harris — or another woman — become US president soon in the future, that'll (finally) put America on par with most of the world's top 20 economies, which have already had a female head of state or government at some point in their democratic history. Here we take a look at which ones those are.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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