Senator Elizabeth Warren fired back at Facebook on social media following a leaked statement made by the company’s CEO and chairman Mark Zuckerberg. The presidential hopeful claimed Facebook, and “giant companies” like it, engage in “illegal” anti-competitive practices and “stomp” on privacy rights.
The senator went further to say that Facebook has behaved irresponsibly when it comes to protecting U.S. democracy on more than one occasion.
The statement was reportedly made in response to a leaked audio clip stemming from an internal discussion at the company. In the clip, Mr. Zuckerberg claimed that it would “suck” for Facebook if it needed to take on a lawsuit against its own government. The CEO also insisted that would win, unequivocally, any legal challenges brought if Elizabeth Warren wins the presidency in 2020.
The pain point for Warren and threats to break up Facebook
Senator Warren has been actively calling for the dissolution and break up of big companies such as Facebook for some time. In March, the goal was pinned as a primary talking point, central to the senator’s presidential bid. For clarity, the goal is not something that’s been widely backed by many in the industry. It’s also not without merit or reason, particularly where Facebook is concerned.
Contention about the company reaches back to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Summarily, Facebook’s features were used by unwitting participants whose data was taken. That was used in a campaign of propaganda in a larger bid to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
However, Facebook has since been at the center of a number of controversies. That includes an inordinate number of security breaches and privacy leaks. Elected officials called out the company in early 2019 over data collections from some of its youngest users. The company had been caught collecting data via “research” apps. That was pushed to app stores against those markets’ policies, bypassing security protocols and marketed as a VPN.
Subsequently, Facebook has continued being called out.
Various reports over just the past couple of months found that it was recording and listening to audio recorded of its users through third-party contractors, for instance. The company recorded the audio both in the Messenger application and through the company’s smart speakers.
Facebook temporarily paused that practice following a fair amount of backlash before reinstating it with “opt-out” options.
Facebook isn’t the only company facing a possible break up
Senator Warren is responding directly to Facebook via social media with her most recent comments. But that’s not the only company implicated in a possible break up attempt if she takes the White House either. Google, Amazon, and Apple have been at the center of their own controversies. Amazon and Apple have managed to avoid trouble more recently but Google has not.
Not only has Google found itself under investigation for how it protects user data. It’s also under investigation much more recently due to plans it claims will actually protect users.
Specifically, the company hopes to protect user data from use by others by adding an encrypted DNS layer in Chrome. Because that’s the world’s most popular browser, the contention — driven mostly by ISPs — is that the search giant will have a sort of monopoly over users.