Facebook has been having a tough battle dealing with regulators and government agencies since the launch of its Libra cryptocurrency. In the recently leaked audio recordings obtained by The Verge, Mark Zuckerberg threatens to take the U.S. government to the courts if the Democratic Party presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren comes to power and tries to break big companies like Facebook into smaller entities.
Note that breaking Big Tech is one of the major promises of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. Earlier this year in March 2019, Warren wrote a big post on breaking Big Tech saying:
“Today’s big tech companies have too much power—too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”
Taking the Bull by Its Horn
The leaked audio recordings come from a Q&A session between Zuckerberg and Facebook employees, back in July 2019. However, they were not intended for public use.
In the Q&A, Zuckerberg speaks at length about Libra, and other challenges the company is currently going through. But he also has a stern message of fighting Elizabeth Warren and her supporting antitrust regulators, if they come to power. Zuckerberg says that the company will not sit quietly on Warren’s idea of breaking the Big Tech. If the need arises, the Facebook CEO also shows the preparedness of taking the U.S. government to the court.
In one of the transcript from the audio recording, Zuckerberg says:
“So there might be a political movement where people are angry at the tech companies or are worried about concentration or worried about different issues and worried that they’re not being handled well. That doesn’t mean that, even if there’s anger and that you have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies …
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. I mean, that’s not the position that you want to be in when you’re, you know, I mean … it’s like, we care about our country and want to work with our government and do good things. But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”
Although Warren might look legit in her opinion of few big companies having absolute power over the user data, Zuckerberg says that going after Big Tech companies is not the right approach. Facebook has been in limelight after the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018 wherein data of millions of Facebook users was compromised.
Zuckerberg says that to fight on the wrong things on the internet, Big Tech companies should be allowed to use their resources. In the Q&A session, Zuckerberg says that Facebook has been massively investing in user data privacy and safety. He also goes to mention how much more Facebook is doing in the data safety matter compared to other industry peers like Twitter. He said:
“It’s why Twitter can’t do as good of a job as we can. I mean, they face, qualitatively, the same types of issues. But they can’t put in the investment. Our investment on safety is bigger than the whole revenue of their company. [laughter] And yeah, we’re operating on a bigger scale, but it’s not like they face qualitatively different questions. They have all the same types of issues that we do.”
After the audio leak, Elizabeth Warren took it to Twitter for once again attacking Facebook, and reiterated her stand affirmatively.
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
Soon as the audio leak created a lot of buzz, Zuckerberg made a Facebook post releasing the full audio transcript suggesting his view on a range of issues.
Every week I do a Q&A at Facebook where employees get to ask me anything and I share openly what I’m thinking on all…
FB stock is currently at $175.81, decreasing 1.27% from it’s $178.08 previous close with a 10.6% increase over the last 12 months.