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- Marc Benioff has suggested Facebook should be broken up, joining a growing list of business and political figures who have made the same suggestion.
- Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, the Salesforce founder and co-CEO criticized the social media giant on a number of fronts, including its perceived addictiveness, its acceptance of lies in political ads, and its preoccupation with acquiring personal data.
- This is not the first time Benioff has criticized Facebook – he likened the firm to “cigarettes” at the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos.
- Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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Salesforce founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff has called for Facebook to be broken up.
Benioff was speaking during an interview with CNN on Wednesday.
Discussing Facebook’s impact on society, he launched a stinging critique of the social media giant, attacking its attempts to keep younger users engaged and its decision not to police what politicians say in ads.
He said: “It’s addictive; it’s not good for you; they’re after your kids, they’re running political ads that aren’t true. They’re also acquiring other companies and co-mingling [personal data those companies have] into their [own database].”
“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.”
Benioff took particular umbrage at Facebook’s recent decision to run political advertisements from the Trump campaign containing false claims about Ukraine and the Biden family. He urged Congress to pass legislation that would require truthful advertising on social media platforms, and said there is “no question” he would not run such advertisements himself.
“I think this is extremely important in the age of social media. That’s the insight from the 2016 election. It’s a very vulnerable moment right now,” he added, referencing Russia’s use of Facebook to interfere with the 2016 election.
The 55-year-old has previously criticized Facebook on the grounds of its perceived addictiveness, describing the platform as “the new cigarettes” during at talk at the 2018 World Economic Forum.
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Benioff is far from the only big name to have called for Facebook’s dissolution, with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes both taking shots at the firm in 2019. Last week, Facebook moved to publicly call out Warren, tagging her in a tweet after she criticized Facebook on similar grounds to Benioff by running a deliberately fake ad.
His remarks could hardly come at a less convenient time for Facebook, either, after a chastening week for its Libra cryptocurrency project.
Despite only being announced in June, the project has lost a slew of backers in the past week. Seven of twenty-eight founding members have now revoked their membership of the Libra Association – the group of firms formally interested in building and developing Libra, its proposed cryptocurrency.
After Mastercard, Visa and Stripe all dropped out in the past week, Facebook’s Libra chief, David Marcus, spoke out in defence of the project this week. On Tuesday he told Yahoo Finance that Libra was “absolutely not” in jeopardy, adding that the project is “going to get harder before it gets easier.”
Business Insider has contacted Facebook for comment.