Three people who have held senior roles at big tech companies all think that their former employers deserve more regulation — and maybe even to be broken up.
In an interview with The Verge Silicon Valley editor Casey Newton at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on Tuesday, former leaders at Google, Facebook, and Twitter each voiced their concerns now that they’re on the outside looking in.
The federal government is reported to be preparing for a broad review of Big Tech’s power, with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice divvying up responsibility for possible probes into Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple.
To Nicole Wong, who worked in senior legal roles at Google and Twitter, regulation is overdue.
“Regulation is coming. Regulation is here and it’s time and it’s good,” Wong said, though she added that breaking up the companies solves the wrong problem. “We have to figure out what we’re trying to solve for — and it’s not just bigness.”
Jessica Powell, who used to lead communications at Google, expressed some hope that companies would change thanks to internal pressure, not external scrutiny.
“Regulation will happen. It will probably be ham-fisted. It will probably be awkward and we’ll probably all be criticizing it the whole way through,” she said. “But I think some of the biggest drivers of change at the company will be on the cultural side and the actual employees pushing for that change.”
Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former product manager at Facebook, said he thought there was a good antitrust case to break up Facebook.
“The justification for breaking up Facebook would be that they have massive economies of scale,” he said. “Over the long term, the innovation you would drive through competition would eventually solve some of these problems.”
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