Silicon Valley Billionaire and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff recently compared the crisis in trust experienced by large tech companies like Facebook with the financial crisis of 2008.
The Telegraph reports that Billionaire Marc Benioff, the founder of cloud computing firm Salesforce, has urged regulators to crack down on companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, warning that the level of trust that people have placed in these companies is similar to the financial crisis of a decade ago. Benioff stated his opinion that the heads of these companies have “abdicating responsibility” and are ignorant of the level of power that they hold over the public.
Benioff believes that the regulators “have no choice” but to intervene at this stage. Benioff’s concerns seem quite similar to those of Rupert Murdoch, who argued last week that social media companies must fight against the “scurrilous news sources” in the alternative media.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Benioff stated, “We are in a new world. A decade ago, you had the banks talking about collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, saying they were great for the economy but regulators weren’t paying attention. The government needs to come in and point ‘True North.'” Benioff pointed towards the tobacco and food production industries as examples of highly regulated industries, “There are lots of examples from other industries,” said Benioff.
Sir Martin Sorrell agreed with Benioff stating that the “Seven Sisters” company’s comprised of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and China’s Alibaba and Tencent have become too powerful. Sorrell compared Jeff Bezos to the chief executive of WPP John D Rockafeller saying “we are now in a position where they [tech companoes] need to be regulated.” Not everyone agreed with Sorrell and Benioff though. Ruth Porat, the finance director of Google parent company Alphabet, defended the company stating that the division of the company into multiple subsidiary companies “allows us to keep investing and improving the lives of billions of people.”
Benioff also attacked ride-sharing company Uber accusing them of prioritizing growth over user trust, “It was built for speed at any cost” said Benioff. He continued to say that this was “unacceptable in a world of connected products.” Benioff stated, “Trust has to be the highest value [for any company]. If not, bad things will happen.”
Benioff stated that he was happy to see the reveal of scandals surrounding Uber, “The leaks and exposures started huge cultural change and a break from the past,” he said. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi defended the company stating, “When you’re doing four million rides a year, you can’t make up for random events.”