Marc Benioff: Facebook Is ‘The New Cigarettes' And Should Probably Be Broken Up

The billionaire Salesforce CEO denounced the social media company for refusing to take down fake political ads.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff unleashed blistering criticism of Facebook during an interview on Wednesday, saying the social media giant had grown so large and acquired so much data that it’s time the tech behemoth is broken up.

“It’s addictive, it’s not good for you, they’re after your kids, they’re running political ads that aren’t true. And they’re also acquiring other companies and co-mingling their data into theirs,” Benioff, who is on a media tour for his new book, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “I think at that point, because they’re now doing that, that they probably should be broken up. Because they’re having an undue influence as the largest social media platform on the planet.”

Facebook has been under increasing scrutiny for its recklessness with user data, which has resulted in several massive security breaches. The company was fined a record $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations related to the Cambridge Analytica data-mining operation, although that figure is unlikely to make a dent in the company’s massive revenues.

The social media network has also come under fire for refusing to take down false election ads. The company’s vice president of global affairs said last month that Facebook doesn’t believe “it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny.”

Benioff pointed to that decision on Wednesday, saying he was concerned about Facebook’s failures to instill trust in its users.

“We’re in a world where very advanced technologies are at our fingertips, and where we can do magical things,” Benioff told CNN. “But that also means that trust must be our highest value. And you have to ask yourself: Is trust your highest value? If it’s not your highest value, then what is it?”

Later on Wednesday, Benioff tweeted that Section 230 of the U.S. Code should be abolished. The provision, which is part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, says online platforms are not liable for content posted by users. Getting rid of the rule is controversial.

Benioff has long been outspoken about the power of his own industry. Earlier this year, he blamed the tech sector for rising inequality in America, particularly in San Francisco, which has seen housing prices and personal salaries skyrocket for some residents while thousands of others remain homeless.

“In some ways, San Francisco is the canary in the coal mine,” Benioff said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. “We have to look at San Francisco and say here’s the best technology example in the world and yet the worst homelessness.”

The CEO was also one of the most vocal supporters of San Francisco’s Proposition C, which taxes the city’s richest companies to fund programs for the homeless population.

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