The CEO of cloud storage company Box has stated that the mistrust and possible regulation of major tech companies such as Facebook and Google is a ‘contagion’ that could spread to other Silicon Valley tech companies.
The CEO of Box, Aaron Levie, stated in a recent interview with Recode that while he isn’t worried about his company Box being regulated, he is worried about what will happen if companies such as Facebook are regulated by the government. “It’s a contagion because it’s going to reduce trust in these types of platforms,” Levie said during an episode of Recode Decode.
Levie’s company, Box, serves as a cloud data storage solution for companies such as Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Pfizer. Levie stated his hopes that Facebook and Google will “resolve their issues” with the government as he and many other companies in Silicon Valley have a “strong vested interest” in Big Tech remaining unregulated.
“The worst-case scenario for us is that Silicon Valley gets so far behind on these issues that we just can’t be trusted as an industry,” Levie said. “We rely on the Fortune 500 trusting Silicon Valley’s technology, to some extent, for our success. When you see that these tools can be manipulated or they’re being used in more harmful ways, or regulators are stamping them down, then that impacts anybody, whether you’re consumer or enterprise.”
Levie does realize, however, that some areas of tech could benefit from regulation:
“What news do you see? What person has to be harmed in a self-driving car accident?” asked Levie. “Those are fundamental questions, which means you need regulators to actually weigh in on, as a society, what are the outcomes we want and find acceptable? These are the questions that we are so early in and so incapable of answering, as an industry and a government.”
Levie sympathized with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, stating that he could see how Zuckerberg could remain unaware of the power of Facebook while building the platform:
“These things aren’t binary,” he said. “Zuckerberg knew the impact of Facebook when they did that one thing, Beacon — ‘Wow, I could actually hurt people’s personal lives if we publish things that people didn’t know we were publishing.’ But I don’t know that they ever did the whiteboard scenario, ‘Let’s imagine that you have a nation-state that’s trying to impact our election. What are the hundred ways you could manipulate an election in the U.S.?’”
The full podcast with Levie can be found here.