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Michael Swartz / Oct. 4, 2019

Facebook: A Warren Presidency Would 'Suck for Us'

Leaked audio of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's complaint is illuminating.

President Donald Trump isn’t the only victim of leaks these days. Back in July, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was taped during internal meetings with his employees, and the resulting audio made its way to a website called The Verge, a partner site to the leftist rag known as Vox. Interestingly, the featured quote involved surging Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

“You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies. … If she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah,” said Zuckerberg. “I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government,” he added. “But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”

Warren fired back — ironically enough, via Twitter — “What would really ‘suck’ is if we don’t fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anti-competitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy.”

The real issue, though, would be making Big Government an Internet regulator. “Rather than just breaking up these platforms and allowing real competitive pressures to incentivize more responsiveness and openness,” writes Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, “Warren would replace their current biased leadership with government-managed regulatory regimes.”

Admittedly, we feel a certain amount of schadenfreude regarding this cat fight between the socialist senator from Massachusetts and the founder of a website that has shown a willingness to, among many other offenses, discriminate against those with conservative and pro-life points of view.

But Warren’s “existential threat” to Facebook has been in the works for quite a while: Earlier this spring she unveiled her plan to break up Big Tech with lawfare and regulation. The irony, of course, is that Warren — like the rest of her Democrat counterparts — is a heavy user of Facebook advertising and its analytics tool, called Pixel.

One has to wonder, though, whether using Big Tech as a foil is simply a means for Warren to burnish her left-populist platform in order to siphon off Bernie Sanders supporters during the primary and centrist independents from Donald Trump in the general election — those who like his populism but can do without the drama. And it’s not like the tech giants will be hurt all that much, even if their conglomerates are pared down to a smaller size.

Voters tend to be unduly influenced by their short-term memory and often forget the rapid rate of change in the Internet world. Remember the angst over the merger between TimeWarner and AOL? For that matter, remember AOL? It’s hard to imagine it today, but Facebook will one day join MySpace and AOL on the ash heap of history. Government intrusion into the free market, however, seems to be everlasting.

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