Silicon Valley billionaire Marc Benioff called Tuesday for massive tech companies like Facebook to be heavily regulated, since social media and other similar platforms are “addictive.”
When asked how a company like Facebook should be treated by the federal government, Benioff, the founder of the cloud computing company Salesforce, said just like “the cigarette industry.”
“Here’s a product, cigarettes. They’re addictive,” Benioff said during an interview with CNBC. “You know, they’re not good for you. Maybe there is all kinds of different forces trying to get you to do certain things. There’s a lot of parallels.”
Benioff also said the leaders of these tech companies have been “abdicating responsibility” by not realizing or caring about the implications of their respective platforms and services. He compared the situation to the last huge financial crisis.
“We are in a new world. A decade ago, you had the banks talking about collaterised debt obligations and credit default swaps, saying they were great for the economy but regulators weren’t paying attention,” Benioff said, according to The Telegraph. “The government needs to come in and point ‘True North.'”
Benioff is just one of many tech elites who have spoken out against the perpetually-growing power of Silicon Valley, the hub of the people and companies being criticized.
A number of people with insider information about Facebook, including founding president Sean Parker, who called himself “something of a conscientious objector,” have expressed deep-seated concerns with the social company.
“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” Parker said, according to Axios. “It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Like Benioff, Justin Rosenstein, famous for creating the “like” button, said in October that “our minds can be hijacked” by such “addictive technologies.” Now a former higher up, he once described the “like” feature as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure.” (RELATED: This Startup Wants To Take Some Power Away From Tech Giants)
Facebook has even appeared to indirectly respond to such accusations by looking inward itself. A top Facebook executive admitted Monday that while social media has had positive effects on democracy, it can also be fairly detrimental if exploited or misused.
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