Gary Cohn Warns: Facebook Bigger Threat than Banks Before Great Recession

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn waits arrives for an event where US President Donald Trump nominated Kirstjen Nielsen to be new US Secretary of Homeland Security in the East Room of the White House October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should …
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn believes that big tech companies pose a larger threat to Americans than big banks before the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

In an interview with Bloomberg Business, the former Goldman Sachs executive and former Trump administration official said the influence of large U.S. financial institutions pales in comparison to technology behemoths such as Facebook.

“In ’08 Facebook was one of those companies that was a big platform to criticize banks, they were very out front of criticizing banks for not being responsible citizens,” Cohn said. “I think banks were more responsible citizens in ’08 than some of the social media companies are today. And it affects everyone in the world. The banks have never had that much pull.”

Cohn’s comments come as a handful of Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies have barred InfoWars and its founder Alex Jones from their platforms. Facebook has taken down four pages belonging to Jones, including two featuring his “Infowars” show, for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. On Monday, the company said that it “unpublished” the four pages after receiving reports that they contained content “glorifying violence” and used “dehumanizing language” to describe Muslims, immigrants, and transgender people.

Apple, YouTube, and Spotify have also memory-holed material published by Jones. Twitter, which has not banned him or Infowars, has also faced similar calls. Last week, music streaming service Spotify removed some episodes of “The Alex Jones Show” podcast, claiming the news outlet breached its hate content policy.

In March, Cohn resigned from the White House after breaking with President Donald Trump on trade policy. Cohn, who served as the director of the National Economic Council, was the leading internal opponent to President Trump’s planned tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, working — and ultimately failing — to orchestrate an eleventh-hour effort in recent daysto get his boss to reverse course.

Cohn joined the White House after departing the Wall Street firm with a $285 million payout. The former Goldman Sachs banker often faced ridicule among some inside the White House for being a registered Democrat who last year met with former Republican officials pushing a form of carbon tax.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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