Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in July that an Elizabeth Warren presidency would pose an “existential” threat to the company, according to over two hours of leaked audio published by The Verge.
“If she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge,” Zuckerberg is overheard saying on the tapes. “I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. I mean, that’s not the position that you want to be in. . . . 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.”
Facebook, one of the social-media companies at the center a bipartisan debate over tech regulation, has faced increasing scrutiny from lawmakers and other elected officials over the past year. In September, Zuckerberg admitted to Senator Josh Hawley (R., MO) that Facebook had been biased in its censoring the content of pro-life group Live Action. And in July, the FTC fined the tech giant $5 billion for its illegal sales of user data, while the Department of Justice began an anti-trust probe to look into it and other big tech firms.
Warren, who has risen dramatically in the polls in recent weeks, has not shied away from vocal criticism of Facebook during the campaign and has called for it and other industry leaders to be broken up.
In March, ads from the Warren campaign that criticized tech companies’ “vast power over our economy and our democracy” were initially removed by Facebook over what the platform called violations of its advertising policies, but were eventually allowed “in the interest of allowing robust debate.”
The removal came only a few days after Warren wrote on Medium that “it’s time to break up Amazon, Google, and Facebook.”
“We need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor,” Warren wrote, before promising “structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition” under her administration.