Tech CEO Fulminates on CNN About Trump Ad: 'Facebook is the New Cigarettes'

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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg did some that should not be considered remarkable on Thursday, but given the current political context was- having listened to the concerns of others regarding free speech, he decided not appoint himself the final arbiter of truth. However, this left the media out in the cold, if Zuckerberg won't take down that anti-Biden Trump ad, who will? Fortunately for the media, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has a book to sell and is willing to play the role.

Sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with CNN Newsroom co-host Poppy Harlow on Friday, Benioff was asked, "Breaking up Big Tech. It's a popular line on the campaign trail. We heard it on the debate stage. Do you support it?" Benioff naturally agreed, "Facebook is the new cigarettes. We have talked about this before. It's addictive, not good for you. They're after your kids. They're running political ads that aren't true, they’re giving your data to tens of thousands of organization without your knowledge... I think at that point because they are now doing that they should be broken up."

 

 

 

 

A few moments later, Harlow would return to the question of the anti-Biden ad, "Right now on Facebook, on YouTube, on Twitter, is a false Trump campaign ad that is running with known false things that it says about Joe Biden, et cetera. Facebook says they're following FCC law that applies to broadcasters. And frankly there is no regulation for them in their ads. They're not a broadcaster. But any say sort of we're following the law as we know it. Are they making the right call?"

Benioff, who now owns Time magazine, declared the outrage over the ad to be evidence of "why I think Congress is trying to act to create truth in advertising. I think this is extremely important in the age of social media. Because they have the information of who those persuadables are. And those various political organizations are targeting those groups. That's the insight from the 2016 election. It's a very vulnerable moment right now."

Harlow, finally got to the crux of the matter, "Would you run these ads if you were running Facebook?" Benioff then appointed himself Minister of Truth and simply said, "No."

He did not mention how he would differentiate between false ads, those that merely stretch the truth, and the general attack ad that paints one's opponents in a bad light. Presumably, those who agree with Benioff would be given the benefit of the doubt and those who don't would not, which would be a bad sign for conservatives.

Earlier in the segment, the billionaire Benioff called for a "new capitalism" because "capitalism is dead." It's also a bad sign, because Benioff is not exactly a deep thinker. When pressed by Harlow for specifics on tax rates, for example, Benioff longed for the good old days of extraordinarily high rates, "look at the traditional tax rates I think have been quite fair. If you look at global tax rates and where other countries tax the superrich, that's I think those are fair rates." Harlow, pressed for specifics, "Seventy percent, France?" Benioff demurred, "I think we should have the conversation." France's infamous 75% top tax rate failed so spectacularly that the previous socialist administration that implemented it, admitted it failed by letting it expire.  
 
Here is a transcript for the October 18 interview:

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:50 AM ET

POPPY HARLOW: All right. Mark Zuckerberg is on the road defending Facebook amid a flurry of criticism over the decision to run false campaign ads on the platform. Last night in Washington he said he will not restrict freedom of expression. Listen to this. 

MARK ZUCKERBERG: We are at another crossroads. We can either continue to stand for free expression, understanding its messiness but believing the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us or we can decide that the cost is simply too great. 

HARLOW: But not every CEO in Silicon Valley sees it that way at all, including Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff. I sat down with him this week for a wide ranging discussion as he releases his new his book “Trail Blazer” and not only does he call out Facebook, he calls out capitalism saying unequivocally capitalism is dead. Watch this.

HARLOW [taped interview begins]: Mark, you say capitalism as we know it is dead. That's saying a lot coming from a billionaire who made his money through capitalism, so why did it die? And when did it die? 

MARC BENIOFF: We do need a new capitalism. Capitalism is dead. We need a new, more sustainable, more equitable, more fair capitalism. And that means it's a capitalism built on stakeholders not just shareholders. By the way, the government can have a role here, they can ask companies probably in the SEC reporting to not only deliver your numbers but what about your stakeholder results. 

HARLOW: Bernie Sanders -- he was asked if he thought billionaires should exist in the United States and he said quote, “I hope the day comes when they don't.” You're a billionaire, should they exist?

BENIOFF: I certainly think people should pay more income taxes at higher levels and are those tax rates fair today? I don't think are? 

HARLOW: What should your wealth, capital gains wealth, for example be taxed at what’s fair? Fifty, 60, 70%, Marc. 

BENIOFF: I think you can look at the traditional tax rates I think have been quite fair. If you look at global tax rates and where other countries tax the superrich, that's I think those are fair rates. 

HARLOW: 70%, France? 

BENIOFF: You look at those numbers. You can look at different countries that's the most extreme-- 

HARLOW: But you’d pay it, you’re saying. 

BENIOFF: I think we should have the conversation. 

HARLOW: Fair enough. A wealth tax, this was talked about on the debate stage a lot this week. Do you think a wealth fax is the solution? Elizabeth Warren says it is. 

BENIOFF: I'm looking for systemic change. I'm not lacking for transactional solutions. I think transactional solutions are a mistake. Things that are surgical I think are actually inappropriate and exacerbate the problem. I think we should look for ways to create a new capitalism. I want to have an approach based on all stakeholders. My responsibility isn't just to the shareholders in the company but to all of those stakeholders. 

HARLOW: Breaking up Big Tech. It's a popular line on the campaign trail. We heard it on the debate stage. Do you support it? 

BENIOFF: Facebook is the new cigarettes. We have talked about this before. It's addictive, not good for you. They're after your kids. They're running political ads that aren't true, they’re giving your data to tens of thousands of organization without your knowledge. And they're also acquiring other companies and co-mingling their into theirs. I think at that point because they are now doing that they should be broken up. Because-- 

HARLOW: How does breaking up fix that? 

BENIOFF: Because they’re creating undue influence as the largest social media platform on the planet.

HARLOW: Their response, we’ve heard Mark Zuckerberg and leadership, their say if you break us up you a make us less powerful to combat election interference and what was done in the 2016 election. Is that a salient argument? 

BENIOFF: No, it's not because really the narrative is trust is our highest priority. Why they can't say that trust is our highest value is beyond me? 

HARLOW: Right now on Facebook, on YouTube, on Twitter, is a false Trump campaign ad that is 
running with known false things that it says about Joe Biden, et cetera. Facebook says they're following FCC Law that applies to broadcasters. And frankly there is no regulation for them in their ads. They're not a broadcaster. But any say sort of we're following the law as we know it. Are they making the right call? 

BENIOFF: This in why I think Congress is trying to act to create truth in advertising. I think this is extremely important in the age of social media. Because they have the information of who those persuadables are. And those various political organizations are targeting those groups. That's the insight from the 2016 election. It's a very vulnerable moment right now. 

HARLOW: Would you run these ads if you were running Facebook? 

BENIOFF: No. 

HARLOW: No question about it? 

BENIOFF: No question. 

 

NB Daily Censorship CNN CNN Newsroom Video Mark Zuckerberg Poppy Harlow Donald Trump Joe Biden
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