Big Tech needs governance reform

Big Tech needs governance reform

As lawmakers grill Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week, it's clear many are wrestling with whether and how the government should regulate tech companies. A recurring question is whether they have any inherent ideological biases.

In his testimony to the Senate, Mr Zuckerberg called Silicon Valley "an extremely left-leaning place". While voter patterns at the regional level and likely the employee level at tech companies suggest this is true, it would be wrong to classify Silicon Valley companies themselves as left-leaning, or with any kind of partisan bent. Instead, the companies have more of an authoritarian-libertarian bias. This may have served the industry well in the past but is proving to be problematic now that the industry is so involved in our daily lives.

To see how Silicon Valley got here, I think back to my old professional experience in eBay's "trust and safety" division in 2004 and 2005. I was part of a team that was wrestling with some of the same challenges that face the tech industry today -- although it was a few years before social media and smartphones become part of the fabric of society.

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Conor Sen

Bloomberg View columnist

Conor Sen is a Bloomberg View columnist.

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