Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren an “existential” threat to his company, said Twitter can’t deal with election interference, and expressed confidence about the social network’s legal battles in a new leaked audio.
The Verge released audio obtained from Facebook company meetings from July, where Zuckerberg spoke to his employees about the many issues the social media giant is facing. He said that the push among Democrats like Warren to break up big tech companies would “suck” for Facebook, but that it would eventually emerge victorious from any legal battles.
“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,” Zuckerberg said. “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?,” he continues. “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.”
Warren tweeted a direct response to Zuckerberg’s comments on Tuesday, saying that companies like Facebook need to be fixed.
We have to 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. #BreakUpBigTech https://t.co/c0qWuRb9NN
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 1, 2019
In several other tweets, she explained her plans:
“Zuckerberg himself said Facebook is “more like a government than a traditional company.” They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, undermined our democracy, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.
“My plan to #BreakUpBigTech would undo their illegal, anticompetitive mergers. You’ll still be able to use Facebook and Instagram to catch up with friends and family and share photos of your dog. But they’ll have to compete with each other to make a better product for you.”
But Zuckerberg went on to say in the leaked audio that breaking up Big Tech isn’t necessarily the answer and that doing so would make election interference more likely. He said that the work Facebook has done to limit hate speech has been better than other companies’ efforts — largely due to its size.