George Soros’ Guardian op-ed urging the EU to regulate Google and Facebook to reign in the kind of content that helped lead to the election of Donald Trump has sparked an angry response online, with users saying that Soros frightened them more than the internet companies did, or that the billionaire himself should be “regulated in prison.”
In his piece, Soros complained that Google and Facebook were engaged in a variety of “nefarious” activities, with their content, for which they bear no responsibility, “interfer[ing] with the functioning of democracy and the integrity of elections.”
Soros, known for his open interference, financial and otherwise, in the domestic affairs of countries around the world, complained that the internet companies’ products were making people easier to manipulate, and noted that this “played an important role in the 2016 US presidential election.”
Insisting that Google and Facebook “have neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions,” Soros insisted that regulatory authorities “protect society against them,” starting in Europe, where he said authorities would have a better shot at doing so than in the US.
Most readers of Soros’ op-ed weren’t so certain about his characterization of the problem. In fact, as the top commenter in the Guardian’s comment section put it: “I much more frightened of George Soros than I am of Google or Facebook.”
“Lessons in democracy from a billionaire? No thanks mate!”, another user quipped. “Rule of thumb, if George Soros is for it, it is definitely for his benefit only,” a third wrote.
Recalling Soros’ own record as a cutthroat currency speculator, yet another user noted that it was “a bit rich” to hear him complaining about Google and Facebook’s “near-monopoly” status:
“Mr. Soros was slightly less pompous and preachy back in the days when he was happy to make billions by shorting currency in Europe and Asia without a moment’s thought for the misery it would heap on millions of people,” the commentator wrote. “It’s a bit rich complaining about other platforms destroying the lives of the proles when he has his own bought and paid-for platform in Brussels that’s engaged in stripping workers’ rights through EU member states.”
Soros repeated his message from his official Twitter page, and got a similarly visceral response:
What you mean his you have no sole control of the made up bs narrative you want to put out and it frustrates you!
— Ray Lopez (@RayLope26178723) February 18, 2018
We disagree profoundly on this point. Facebook and Twitter and the vast resources of information available through google have leveled the playing field for ordinary people and have broken the tyranny of the MSM which serves only the rich and powerful and exposed #fakenews. pic.twitter.com/TnW7A7KM7N
— Anne Armstrong (@AvengingAnnieRI) February 16, 2018
You should be more regulated in prison
— Ninja Alex 忍者420 (@NinjaAlex420) February 16, 2018
Soros was convicted of insider trading in 2002 by a French court and fined 2.2 million euros, a conviction upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011. Best known in the business world for currency speculation against the British pound in 1992, which made him his first billion, Soros has been actively engaged in a series of campaigns to influence politics around the world, from the US to the UK to Eastern Europe, including Russia.