George Soros renewed calls Monday for Facebook to rein in Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief executive officer and chief operating officer, respectively.
Mr. Soros, a billionaire megadonor known for backing liberal causes, advocated for removing Mr. Zuckerberg as Facebook CEO in an op-ed published by the Financial Times on Monday.
Finding fault with Facebook’s policies for allowing political advertisements, Mr. Soros said Ms. Sandberg should be ousted as well.
Mr. Soros, 89, called for each of the Facebook executives to lose control over the company in response to an op-ed penned by Mr. Zuckerberg published by the same outlet on Sunday.
“We believe advertising is more transparent on Facebook than television, print or other online services. We publish details about political and issue ads — including who paid for them, how much was spent, and how many people were reached,” Facebook’s CEO wrote in an article titled “Mark Zuckerberg: Big Tech needs more regulation.”
“But who decides what counts as political advertising in a democracy? If a non-profit runs an ad about immigration during an election, is it political? Who should decide — private companies, or governments?” Mr. Zuckerberg, 35, asked in the editorial.
Mr. Soros fired back in an op-ed of his own by saying Mr. Zuckerberg “should stop obfuscating the facts by piously arguing for government regulation.”
“Mr. Zuckerberg appears to be engaged in some kind of mutual assistance arrangement with Donald Trump that will help him to get reelected. Facebook does not need to wait for government regulations to stop accepting any political advertising in 2020 until after the elections on November 4. If there is any doubt whether an ad is political, it should err on the side of caution and refuse to publish. It is unlikely that Facebook will follow this course,” Mr. Soros wrote.
“Therefore, I repeat my proposal, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg should be removed from control of Facebook,” added Mr. Soros.
Facebook announced last year that it would not subject political ads to the same scrutiny as other content paid to run on the platform, effectively allowing candidates and campaigns to place ads containing unverifiable and potentially false claims.
Mr. Soros has been among the policy’s most influential critics and has claimed without evidence that it exemplifies an agreement existing between President Trump and Facebook.
“Facebook will work together to reelect Trump, and Trump will protect Facebook so that this situation cannot be changed, and it makes me very concerned about the outcome for 2020,” Mr. Soros said last month.
Facebook referred to a statement made previously by a spokesperson for the social network when asked to comment on the latest remarks made by Mr. Soros.
“While we respect Mr. Soros’ right to voice his opinion, he’s wrong,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “The notion that we are aligned with any one political figure or party runs counter to our values and the facts. We continue making unprecedented investments to keep our platform safe, fight foreign interference in elections around the world, and combat misinformation.”
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