San Francisco: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised his employees to “fight and win” if Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren wins the 2020 election and moves forward with her stated plan to break up the big US tech firms.
Adopting a more aggressive style than he habitually uses in his public appearances, Zuckerberg directed his remarks at his employees last July to address questions about the firm’s present and future, an interview that was recorded and made public on Tuesday on the Web page The Verge, Efe news reported.
“I mean, if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. … We care about our country and want to work with our government and do good things. But look … if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight,” he said.
Zuckerberg was referring to the Massachusetts senator’s proposal to split up the biggest tech firms – if she wins the Democratic presidential nomination and is ultimately elected in 2020 – given that she feels that they have “excessive” power both as market entities and in relation to their users or customers.
On Tuesday, after the audio recording of Zuckerberg was released, Warren doubled down on her proposal and said on Twitter that “What would really ‘suck’ is if we don’t fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy.”
“I’m not afraid to hold Big Tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon accountable. It’s time to #BreakUpBigTech,” the senator said in another tweet.
In the recordings provided by The Verge, Zuckerberg justified his opposition to Warren’s plan by – among other things – saying that dividing big companies will not make interference in elections less likely, rather the reverse, given that in his judgment “the companies can’t coordinate and work together.”
The tech giant based in Menlo Park, California, in recent years has been mired in a multitude of scandals that have significantly strained its public image, the biggest of these being the one involving British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which used an app to gather personal data on millions of Facebook users without their consent and then used that info for political ends.
The consulting firm prepared psychological profiles on voters that it allegedly sold to the campaign of President Donald Trump during the runup to the 2016 election, among other things.
Facebook is being investigated for potential monopolistic practices by the Federal Trade Commission, which earlier this year levied a $5 billion fine on the firm for failing to properly maintain user privacy.