Facebook, Google hinder innovation, says investor George Soros at Davos

George Soros struck at social media giants Facebook and Google, declaring them monopolies that foster addiction, threaten independent thinking and risk empowering state-sponsored surveillance.

"The fact of nuclear war is so horrendous that we are trying to ignore it, but it is real", Soros said during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Soros argues that "internet monopolies have neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions" and that profit-seeking often leads them into casino-like schemes which "hook gamblers to the point where they gamble away all their money, even money they don't have".

During last year's conference in Davos, Soros predicted negative prospects for the stock market under Trump.

He compared the president to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, saying Trump also would like to create a "mafia state" that suppresses individual rights. George Soros isn't involved in the day-to-day management of that organization.

Soros Fund Management, his family office, owned some shares of Facebook and Google parent Alphabet Inc.as of September 30.

And with mounting public backlash, Facebook, Google and other tech companies may see their monopolies soon broken, as Soros noted European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager "will be their nemesis".

Soros said that these tech giants claim that they are distributing information but they are distributing monopoly instead.

The investor, a nationalized American, considered that this was "particularly disastrous", given that social networks and large internet companies influence how people think and behave, without users even noticing.

As for the U.S., Soros said he will be mobilizing his own political forces to try to defeat Trump.

Soros suggested Facebook and Google should be subject to more stringent regulations which would "preserve competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access", as well as taxation, stating that those two factors will be the death knell for the companies.

"To call the world's nuclear state dire is to understate the danger and its immediacy", Bronson said.

"This requires the United States to cooperate with all the interested parties, China foremost among them".

During a dinner with journalists at the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland, the tycoon lashed out against the power of the U.S. technology companies, which he accused of putting "obstacles to innovation" and of being a "threat to democracy".

  • Joey Payne