In order to win the hearts and votes of liberals everywhere, Democratic presidential candidates are now saying that they will break up or regulate Facebook.
After Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes wrote an May 9 op-ed calling for Facebook to be broken up and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to be removed, Democrats started echoing the sentiment. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told the Associated Press that breaking up Facebook, as well as other large tech companies, “is something we should take a really hard look at.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been advocating for the break-up of Big Tech since she began campaigning. Warren said in a March 8 op-ed, “To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies.”
On May 12, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Facebook was “essentially a utility.”
“It is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated. And as far as I’m concerned that’s gotta stop,” she continued.
Other Democratic candidates, perhaps still hopeful for a campaign check from tech companies, have advocated regulation, but not as severe as the breakup proposed by Biden, Warren and Harris.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a favorite of tech companies, told ABC’s This Week on May 12: ‘I don't think that a president should be running around, pointing at companies and saying ‘break them up’ without any kind of process here. It’s not me and my own personal opinion about going after folks. That sounds more like a Donald Trump thing to say, ‘I'm going to break up you guys.’ No. We need to create systems and processes.’”
Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg went to Harvard with Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes, but wasn’t as interested in breaking up the company. He proposed “a spectrum of regulation that could include fines, blocking new mergers or splitting up companies.”
Former Texas Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who failed to wrestle a Senate seat away from Republican Ted Cruz, also favored increased regulation rather than breaking up the company.
“I’m not sure if having five more Facebooks -- if you broke up Facebook into five component parts, or any of these other large social media or technology companies --makes as much sense as regulating them, given the power they have and the way in which they can be used to undermine our democracy and affect the outcomes of our elections,” O’Rourke said on March 21 to CNBC.
It seems like regulation at the very least is on the table for Facebook — if Democrats have their way.