The billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros has launched a blistering and multipronged attack on Facebook and Google, arguing the tech giants' size and "monopolistic" behavior had made them a "menace" to society, damaged democracy, and encouraged "addiction" akin to gambling companies, Business Insider reports.
Speaking on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Hungarian businessman said that "social-media companies influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it," adding that they have "far-reaching adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy, particularly on the integrity of elections."
Facebook's and Google's size, he argued, means they have become "obstacles to innovation." He called for significantly more regulatory oversight of the companies, holding up the European Union competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, as a model that other regulators should emulate.
"The fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access," Soros said.