Billionaire investor George Soros called Google and Facebook “a menace” to global society, during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He said “more stringent regulations” were necessary and predicted that their “global dominance” would be “broken”.
“They claim they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access,” Mr Soros said, adding that governments would need to step in because tech monopolies have “neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions”.
Soros warned that the tech giants could support authoritarian regimes in an attempt to breach new markets, expanding surveillance and setting up “a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined”.
“The dictatorial leaders in these countries may be only too happy to collaborate with them since they want to improve their methods of control over their own populations and expand their power and influence in the United States and the rest of the world,” Mr Soros said. The billionaire accused Facebook and Google that they intentionally “engineer addiction to the services they provide”, which he called especially harmful for adolescents, and “deceive their users by manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes”.
Mr Soros called bitcoin a “typical bubble”. “Cryptocurrency is a misnomer and it’s a typical bubble which is always based on some kind of misunderstanding. Bitcoin is not a currency, because a currency is supposed to be a stable store of value, and a currency that can fluctuate 25% in a day can’t be used, for instance, to pay wages, because the wages could drop by 25% in a day.”