Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke isn’t joining other Democrats running for president in calling for the breakup of some of the nation’s largest technology companies.
Rather, the Texas Democrat thinks big tech firms need more regulation. That’s according to CNN reporter Eric Bradner, who shared O’Rourke’s comments on Twitter. O’Rourke spoke to the CNN reporter during a meet-and-greet event in New Hampshire.
Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is also running for president, has called for the breakup of big technology companies including Facebook and Google. But according to Bradner, O’Rourke said breaking up the likes of Facebook, or any other big technology company for that matter, into little parts doesn’t make as much sense as regulating them, given the tech companies hold so much power.
“They way in which they can be used wittingly or not to undermine our democracy and affect the outcomes of our elections … that’s the path I would prefer this country to take, but I am aware how grave this challenge is right now for the reasons I just described,” he was quoted as saying. “I think the best way to approach the fact that people have become the products on these platforms — that our privacy has been violated; that we’re confronted with 37-page user agreements … is to regulate them more seriously, and perhaps to treat them a little bit more like a utility.”
O’Rourke’s comments will be welcome news to the likes of Facebook and Google which have been dealing with an onslaught of criticism that has weighed on their reputations and share prices. Lawmakers, regulators and privacy advocates have been looking into their business practices in the wake of data breaches and revelations that they shared personal information with third parties without the consent of consumers. Overseas, Google this week was fined for the third time by the European Union over allegations of anti-competitive actions.