Billionaire investor George Soros, who has denounced tech giants Facebook and Google as a “menace” and a threat to public health, is reportedly “examining new ways” to tackle their growing power.
A spokesman for his influential ‘Open Society Foundations’ told Axios it provided an $180,000, two-year grant to the Open Markets Institute last fall for work around web platforms.
“The Open Society Foundations has long worked on issues involving the free and democratic flow of information and the ways in which a concentration of power can affect knowledge and communication,” said Open Society Foundations acting Co-Director of US Programs Laleh Ispahani.
He added that Soros’s recent speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) “reflected rising concern about the effects of a handful of giant internet platforms having so much influence.
“We’re certainly examining new ways we might address those concerns in ongoing conversations not just in the US but among our foundation colleagues globally.”
Facebook and Google have become “obstacles to innovation” and are a “menace” to society whose “days are numbered,” said Soros at the WEF. He accused the web giants of deceiving users “by manipulating their attention” and “deliberately engineering addiction” to their services.
They have become too powerful and should be broken up, said Soros. He has warned of an “even more alarming prospect” on the horizon if data-rich internet companies paired their corporate surveillance systems with state-sponsored monitoring.
“This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined,” he said.
According to the billionaire, the companies which he described as “ever more powerful monopolies” are unlikely to change their behavior without regulation. “Their days are numbered,” Soros said.