Regulation

Instagram Founders Denounce Warren’s Big Tech Breakup

Instagram Co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger responded to Senator Elizabeth Warren's plan to break up large tech companies, such as Facebook and Amazon.

“I think the conversation will go better and lead to better policy if we’re really specific on the problems we’re trying to solve,” Krieger said, according to CNBC.

Earlier this week, Warren put out a plan to break up large tech firms to create an even playing field. To do so, the presidential candidate wants to turn certain firms into “platform utilities,” which would be defined as companies that have worldwide revenues of at least $25 billion. Those would be firms that connect third parties, or offer an exchange or marketplace. Warren is proposing that these firms would not be able to own platform participants and the utility itself.

In addition, Warren wants to have regulators undo mergers that she said are “anti-competitive,” such as the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon or the purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp by Facebook.

When asked if they supported Warren's proposal, Systrom responded, “Do we get our job[s] back? I’m joking. That was a joke.” (Systrom and Krieger left Facebook-owned Instagram last year.) All joking aside, Systrom believes Warren's proposal is too wide-sweeping.

“I think its gonna take a more nuanced proposal,” Systrom said. “But my fear is that a proposal to break up all tech is playing on everyone’s current feeling of anti-tech, rather than doing what politicians should do, which is address real problems and give real solutions.”

Systrom and Krieger resigned suddenly from Instagram in September, and SXSW marked their first joint public appearance since then. Though the duo has not committed to any new projects at this time, they are now taking meetings with entrepreneurs.

“I’m starting to get excited about ideas again,” Krieger said.

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