Sandberg says breaking up Facebook wouldn’t fix its problems

Greg Nash

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s No. 2 executive, pushed back Friday on the growing calls to break up the social media company, arguing that it would not address the issues that have prompted worldwide public scrutiny.

“You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don’t address the underlying issues people are concerned about,” Sandberg said in an interview with CNBC. “They’re concerned about election security, they’re concerned about content, they’re concerned about privacy and data portability.”

And after meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week, Facebook’s chief operating officer suggested that the half-trillion-dollar company is a countervailing force to Chinese tech giants.

{mosads}“Obviously any concerns we have are ones we need to answer but let me share with you something else I’ve heard in my meetings in D.C., and I’ve heard this in private meetings from both sides of the aisle, that while people are concerned with the size and power of tech companies, there’s also a concern in the United States about the size and power of Chinese tech companies and the realization that those companies are not going to be broken up,” Sandberg said.

Still, there’s a growing constituency of lawmakers and 2020 presidential candidates who want to at least explore splitting up Facebook. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have both said it’s an idea worth considering, while progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have explicitly backed breaking the company up.

Sandberg’s response is that Facebook is changing its ways, citing on Friday the investments the company has made in things like data privacy and election security.

“We know at Facebook that we have a real responsibility to do better and earn back people’s trust,” she said.

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