Sen. Kamala Harris of California told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday that she wants to “seriously take a look” at breaking up Facebook, calling the social media behemoth “essentially a utility that has gone unregulated.”
Harris’ remarks come in the wake of a withering New York Times op-ed by Chris Hughes, one of the company’s co-founders, in which he described the company as a dangerous monopoly and called CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s power “unprecedented and un-American.”
Harris said at a minimum, Facebook needed to be strictly regulated.
“I think that Facebook has experienced massive growth and has prioritized its growth over the best interests of its consumers, especially on the issue of privacy,” she told Tapper. “There is no question in my mind that there needs to be serious regulation and that that has not been happening. There needs to be more oversight, that has not been happening.”
She added that Facebook has become so integral to Americans’ lives, communities, and professions that very few people are able to go without it. That, she said, makes the company closer to a public utility than a private company.
“When you look at the issue, they’re essentially a utility. There are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or in society or whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook,” she said. “We have to recognize it for what it is. It is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s got to stop.”
Harris is one of several 2020 Democratic candidates who have spoken out about Facebook in recent days. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has for months called for the breakup of Facebook and other tech giants like Amazon and Google.
Other candidates, however, say breaking up such companies shouldn’t be the president’s job. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey told ABC News on Sunday that breaking up tech companies “sounds more like a Donald Trump thing to say.”
“I don’t think that a president should be running around, pointing at companies and saying breaking them up without any kind of process here,” Booker said.
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