Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff hasn’t been sparing with his criticism of Facebook. But in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow Wednesday he went one significant step further and added his name to the list of those who support breaking up the social media giant.
“It’s addictive, it’s not good for you, they’re after your kids, they’re running political ads that aren’t true … and they’re also acquiring other companies and co-mingling [data those companies have on their users] into theirs,” Benioff said, referencing Facebook (FB)’s acquisitions of Instagram, WhatsApp and other tech platforms. “And I think at that point, because they’re now doing that, that they probably should be broken up. Because they’re having an undue influence as the largest social media platform on the planet,” he said.
Despite being the head of a massive Silicon Valley company himself, Benioff is known for his sharp critiques of leadership styles in the technology industry and has not shied away from calling out his peers, especially at Facebook. In his interview with Harlow, he also went after a bit of US law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that has enabled the internet to become what it is today by protecting platforms from certain liabilities.
Benioff is on a media tour for his new book “Trailblazer,” published Tuesday, which centers on what he says is the need for today’s CEOs to consider returns not just for shareholders, but for all stakeholders in their companies, including customers and employees.
The question of whether Facebook is a monopoly that should be broken up has become an increasingly frequent topic of conversation, especially on the 2020 campaign trail. Facebook and fellow tech giants Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) have been at the center of a recent effort by regulators to evaluate whether big tech companies are violating antitrust rules.
For its part, Facebook has said that breaking it and other tech companies up would only make it harder for those companies to tackle pressing issues on their platforms such as election interference. Facebook declined to comment on Benioff’s remarks.