Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with head of global policy and communications Nick Clegg.
Niall Carson | PA Images | Getty Images
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has forcefully dismissed growing calls for regulators to break up the social media company, arguing that Facebook’s size allows it to invest billions of dollars in security every year.
Zuckerberg, in an interview with French broadcaster France 2, was responding to an op-ed written by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who said Zuckerberg had acquired ‘unprecendented and un-American’ power. Hughes joined politicians, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in calling for regulators to break up Facebook.
“My main reaction is that what he’s proposing we do isn’t going to do anything to help,” Zuckerberg told France 2 in a heavily dubbed interview that was published Friday.
In his op-ed in The New York Times, Hughes said he came to his position in the wake of the 2016 election, in which Russia used Facebook as a platform to wage a disinformation campaign, and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
But Zuckerberg, who was in France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron, argued that Facebook’s size is actually a benefit to users and the security of democracy.
“If what you care about is democracy and elections, then you want a company like us to invest billions of dollars a year, like we are, in building up really advanced tools to fight election interference,” Zuckerberg said.
“Our budget for safety this year is bigger than the whole revenue of our company was when we went public earlier this decade,” he said “A lot of that is because we’ve been able to build a successful business that can now support that.”
Facebook faces growing scrutiny from regulators and politicians both in the U.S. and abroad. The Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into the social media company after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, probing whether Facebook violated a 2011 agreement to gain users’ explicit consent for their data to be shared.
Facebook recently disclosed that it took a $3 billion charge due to the FTC’s inquiry and estimated the final charge could amount to $5 billion.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, laid out a proposal in March to implement “structural changes” to the tech sector, including breaking up Amazon, Facebook and Google.