FACEBOOK'S CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER SHERYL SANDBERG SAYS BREAKING UP OF FACEBOOK COULD HELP CHINESE RIVALS

Industry:
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said Friday a breakup of big US technology would not address "underlying issues" facing the sector and suggested that such a move could help rivals in China.

Sandberg, interviewed on CNBC television, was asked about the latest calls to break up Facebook and other major Silicon Valley firms which dominate key sectors.

"You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don't address the underlying issues people are worried about,” Sandberg said in the interview.

Sheryl said the social network used by more than 2 billion people was working to address worries about election safety, online violence promotion, and data protection, but that a breakup might only serve to help competitors from China. 

"While people are frightened with the size and power of tech companies, there's also a concern in the United States with the size and power of Chinese companies, and the realization that those enterprises are not going to be broken up," Sheryl said.

The clarifications come a week after one of Facebook's co-founders, Chris Hughes, said in an essay "it's time to break up Facebook," warning that it has gained too much power over what people see online.

Democratic presidential aspirant Elizabeth Warren has also called for a breakup that could need Facebook to spin off its Instagram and WhatsApp units.

Sandberg maintained that Facebook's groups are working hard on protection and security issues, echoing comments since the company came under fire over a series of missteps including the leaking of data in 2016 to a consultancy functioning for Donald Trump.

"We know at Facebook we have a real possibility to do better and get back people's trust," Sandberg said.

Mark Zuckerberg said this week he was optimistic about growth toward a new regulatory framework that would apply to internet platforms.

"Overall I think in order for people to trust the internet... there needs to be the right regulation put in place," Zuckerberg said after meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron to talk over a report called "Creating a French Response to Make Social Media Responsible."

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