Facebook said it has restored the “break up Facebook” ads that it took down — but not before Sen. Elizabeth Warren claimed they proved her point about the social networking giant’s dominance.
The Massachusetts Democrat and presidential candidate called for a breakup of Facebook, Google and Amazon last week, outlining how her administration would lay out an antitrust case against the companies and pursue reversing their acquisitions of Instagram, Waze, Whole Foods and more. Starting Friday, her campaign paid for ads touting her plan on Facebook, and Politico reported Monday that the company took some of the ads down.
“Curious why I think FB has too much power?” the senator tweeted, linking to the Politico story. “Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor. #BreakUpBigTech”
The company “removed the ads because they violated our policies against use of our corporate logo,” a Facebook spokesman said Tuesday, adding that they were restored Monday afternoon “in the interest of allowing robust debate.” He pointed to more than a dozen ads placed on Facebook by the Warren campaign — all calling for breaking up the tech giants — that were not removed.
Warren’s proposal last week was met with disdain in Silicon Valley and by trade groups that represent the tech industry in Washington. She is not alone in calling out the companies — others who have done so in some way include Democratic presidential candidates such as Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, advocacy groups and shareholders. On Tuesday, News Corp Australia, the media company owned by Rupert Murdoch, urged that country’s regulators to break off Google’s search and advertising businesses from the rest of Google.
Seeing a wide-reaching plan — the senator said unwinding mergers would promote competition and force companies to be more responsive about their many issues — laid out is rankling the tech industry.
“I think it’s going to take a more nuanced proposal,” Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom reportedly said at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, over the weekend. The Instagram co-founders left Facebook, which bought the photo-sharing service for $1 billion in 2012, last year.
Warren also told the Verge over the weekend that she thinks Apple should be broken apart from its App Store.
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