Former Facebook executive says Google, Facebook are ‘surveillance states’ and risk more regulation
- Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya says Facebook and Google are like “surveillance states” and are inviting a government crackdown.
- The former Facebook executive is bullish on Amazon, and thinks it will have a longer runway before the government tries to intervene.
Anita Balakrishnan | CNBC
Even though he was once an executive at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, favors investing in Amazon instead, he told CNBC’s “Fast Money: Halftime Report” on Thursday.
President Donald Trump has been a critic of Amazon, tweeting his disdain for coverage from The Washington Post, which is a personal holding of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. But Palihapitiya said he thinks that Facebook and Google face more regulatory risk, given the many retailers that compete with Amazon.
“Amazon is a microscopic portion of global consumption today, so ultimately I think it has more room to grow before it invites regulatory overview,” Palihapitiya said. “On the other hand, Facebook and Google effectively are surveillance states. And they have so much personal, private information about so many citizens of so many countries.”
“It’s already beginning,” Palihapitiya said. “Because it’s part and parcel to them realizing that there’s too much power unbounded.”
Palihapitiya noted that many big technology companies have seen their stocks soar, making it tempting to take gains. Palihapitiya’s holding company, which also includes former Twitter executive Adam Bain, hit the public markets Thursday.
But Palihapitiya said he thinks investors should reframe the way they think about the long-term trajectories of the companies.
For instance, Amazon is competing against Wal-Mart, which has acquired e-commerce companies like Jet.com and Bonobos. But with tools like Alexa, robots and cloud, Amazon’s technology could lead it to victory over “laggard competitors,” Palihapitiya said.
“It is competing against fundamentally impaired companies, including Wal-Mart, quite honestly,” Palihapitiya said. “That don’t have the technical savvy, they don’t have the capabilities, specialty retailers, an entire overhang of cost structure that [Amazon doesn’t] have to deal with.”
Facebook, Google and Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.