DAVOS, Switzerland — The financier and philanthropist George Soros joined the rising attacks on Facebook and Google Thursday night, calling for "more stringent regulations" on the tech giants.
Soros referred to the companies as a "menace" and denounced "the rise and monopolistic behavior of the giant IT platform companies," which he described as "ever more powerful monopolies," hurting competitors and societies alike.
Soros — one of the world's largest philanthropists — adds a key voice to a growing set of calls to rein in the giant tech companies, which are struggling to respond to a rising tide of public criticism.
"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," he said.
Soros also compared the companies to casinos, saying they "deliberately engineer addiction to the services they provide."
Soros warned that these companies would likely "compromise themselves" to enter the Chinese market.
"There could be an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies that would bring together nascent systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance," he said. "This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined."
Soros also denounced President Donald Trump, whom he accused of trying to establish a "mafia state."
Ben Smith is the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed and is based in New York.
Contact Ben Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.