Buttigieg: Political leaders need 'some kind of literacy' to regulate tech giants

Buttigieg: Political leaders need 'some kind of literacy' to regulate tech giants
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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE (D), one of the youngest presidential candidates in the crowded Democratic field, told The Mercury News that political leaders must improve social media and technological literacy if they hope to regulate those companies.

Discussing recent congressional hearings in which Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE and other social media and tech executives testified before Congress last year, Buttigieg said the hearings were “a spectacle of people in charge of regulating a very powerful force demonstrating that they had no concept of what it was they were in charge of overseeing, which is incredibly dangerous.”

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Politicians and regulators, the 37-year-old mayor said, “need some kind of literacy in these technologies, what they mean and more importantly what they can do, in order to regulate properly.”

Buttigieg, a Harvard alumnus, became Facebook’s 287th user in 2004, when the social network was still exclusively used by students at the university. “I don’t think any of us could have guessed what implications that technology would have in the long run,” he told the newspaper.

Buttigieg, in contrast to candidates like Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro is behind in the polls, but he's finding a niche Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall MORE (D-Mass.), has stopped short of calling for the breaking up of tech giants like Facebook, instead suggesting tighter regulations such as restrictions on new mergers. He has said much of Silicon Valley “still have a David mentality when they’ve increasingly turned into Goliath” but argued that tech companies’ decisions are made “perhaps, not necessarily with bad intentions” and that, in his experience, executives are aware of the issues with social media saturation and are “really reflecting on what they wrought."