SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area tech titan aimed a stunning critique at social media Tuesday when Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff compared Facebook to “Big Tobacco” and called for greater regulation.
Benioff said tech is addictive, bad for you and needs increased government controls.
Benioff also said CEO’s aren’t doing enough and that politicians need to step in.
The comments made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, were broadcast on CNBC Tuesday.
“I think you’d do it exactly how you regulate the cigarette industry. Here’s a product: cigarettes. They’re addictive, they’re not good for you, maybe there’s all kinds of forces trying to get you to do certain things. There’s a lot of parallels,” said Benioff.
Benioff’s comparison came on the heels of investors attacking Apple earlier this month, saying the company is responsible for teenagers being addicted to smartphones and harming their mental health.
California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom says he doesn’t support any regulation.
“It’s a very dangerous game when politicians start determining the veracity of truth,” said Newsom. “You have a president about to announce fake news awards I don’t want to walk down that same path.”
An exclusive KPIX Survey USA Poll showed recently that 49 percent of registered voters in San Francisco said tech companies have too much influence over local government.
Additionally, 54 percent said tech companies have been mostly good for San Francisco, while 30 percent said they’ve been mostly bad.
While Benioff calls CEO’s complacent, Newsom said the companies should self-regulate and not get government involved.
“It’s incumbent upon these platforms to figure that out in terms of their algorithms in terms of the technology itself,” said Newsom.
The Washington Post just reported Google for the first time outspent any other company in 2017 to influence Washington, DC.
Google allocated more than $18 million to lobby Congress and the White House.
Facebook, Amazon and Apple all broke company records in lobbying expenditures this year.