Facebook should be treated like other companies that make addictive, and potentially harmful, products.
That’s according to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, one of Silicon Valley’s most influential leaders, who says it’s times for the government to step in and regulate social networks just as it does cigarettes.
Speaking to CNBC from Davos, Switzerland, the Salesforce CEO shared some strong words when it came to the question of Facebook’s influence.
“I think that you do it exactly the same way that you regulated the cigarette industry,” Benioff said.
“Here’s a product: Cigarettes. They’re addictive, they’re not good for you. I think that for sure, technology has addictive qualities that we have to address, and that product designers are working to make those products more addictive and we need to rein that back.”
Technology has addictive qualities that we have to address
Benioff, who founded the enterprise software behemoth Salesforce in 1999, is known for taking a strong stance on political issues even as many of his counterparts hesitate to weigh in publicly. In 2015, he canceled all of the company’s events in Indiana after the state passed an “anti-gay” law that allowed business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.
However, he is far from the first current or former tech exec to call for increased scrutiny. But, in an industry that has traditionally opposed most forms of government regulation, he is among the highest profile figures to publicly call for more regulation of tech companies.
“We’re the same as any other industry. In technology, the government’s going to have to be involved. There is some regulation but there probably will have to be more.”