Arjun Kharpal | CNBC
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is the “dictator” of “the biggest nation in the world”, the co-founder of file sharing site The Pirate Bay, told CNBC on Friday, as he denounced the centralization of power on the internet.
Speaking during an interview at The Next Web conference in Amsterdam, Peter Sunde said that there is “no democracy” online.
“People in the tech industry have a lot of responsibilities but they never really discuss these things … Facebook is the biggest nation in the world and we have a dictator, if you look at it from a democracy standpoint, Mark Zuckerberg is a dictator. I did not elect him. He sets the rules,” Sunde told CNBC.
“And really you can’t opt out of Facebook. I’m not on Facebook but there are a lot of drawbacks in my offline world. No party invitations, no updates from my friends, people stop talking to you, because you’re not on Facebook. So it has real life implications.”
Facebook declined to comment when contacted by CNBC. The social network has 1.6 billion users on its platform.
Sunde is a left-winger best known for co-founding The Pirate Bay, the notorious file sharing site which landed him in jail in 2014 for which he served a five month sentence. His other co-founders were all found guilty of copyright infringements.
To demonstrate his point, Sunde cited the example of when German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard at a United Nations meeting confronting Zuckerberg about anti-immigration posts on Facebook.
“That’s kind of what it comes to. We send major leaders of Europe to ask him to stop interfering with our local culture. How did we end up in a situation like this?,” Sunde said.
“If politicians were a little bit more hard-core and actually believe in this they would be able to fix it. If we say Facebook doesn’t agree with our rules in our country we are going to stop Facebook in our country. We censor a lot of things, why not censor Facebook?,” he added.
Sunde also decried the technology world’s lack of perspective. He denounced Facebook’s policy requiring people to use their real name, as in some countries, this can get people persecuted and makes it hard to organize political movements.
“Mark Zuckerberg is a rich white dude from a really privileged background,” Sunde said, explaining why he thinks the Facebook boss doesn’t understand cultural differences.
“The reason for the real name policy is Mark Zuckerberg wants to make another dollar.”
Zuckerberg has also shared his own thoughts on privacy. In Apple’s recent tussle with the FBI over unlocking an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, Zuckerberg said he is “sympathetic” to Apple. The iPhone maker refused to help authorities unlock the phone.
Facebook is also working on ways to let users customize what they see in the app, giving them ultimately more control.