Elizabeth Warren Has Mark Zuckerberg Thoroughly Spooked
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress last year, it was apparent that “lawmakers still don’t really understand how Facebook works,” as Kurt Wagner wrote in Recode. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., brought printouts of Facebook groups. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, asked how the social network is able to make money despite being a free service, seemingly oblivious to the news that the internet contains ads, Morgan Sung pointed out in Mashable.
Having potential regulators who don’t quite understand what they’re regulating is an advantage for a tech CEO like Zuckerberg. As Wagner pointed out, “he walked away with a victory.” This is perhaps why Zuckerberg is not thrilled with the idea of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., becoming president.
“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,” Zuckerberg said during one of two open meetings this summer whose recordings were leaked to The Verge.
Warren was quick with a response. “What would really ‘suck,’ ” she tweeted, “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.”
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. https://t.co/rI0v55KKAi
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 1, 2019
The New York Times writes on Tuesday that “the surfacing of grievances” between Warren and Zuckerberg “has the effect of publicly pitting one of the leading Democratic candidates for president against the head of the world’s largest social network, at a time when Silicon Valley in general and Facebook in particular continue to be scrutinized for their efforts to combat disinformation and prevent election interference in 2020 and beyond.”
Zuckerberg also answered questions from employees on a variety of topics, including his decision not to appear at government hearings in Europe, whether large tech companies are prepared for the 2020 election, whether they should be broken up, and his opinions on competitors like Twitter and TikTok.
He claimed that breaking up companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon “is not actually going to solve the issues,” referring to election security. He added, “And, you know, it doesn’t make election interference less likely. It makes it more likely because now the companies can’t coordinate and work together.”
Zuckerberg plays down the stresses and often harrowing working conditions of Facebook’s content moderators. When an employee asks about The Verge’s previous reporting on their experiences, he says the articles were “a little overdramatic,” adding that when a company has 30,000 people working for it, there are going to be a wide range of work experiences.
Read the full transcript of both meetings here.
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