Cory Booker Goes After Google and Facebook

Written by Ann Brown
Cory Booker
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks to voters during a campaign stop, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Senator Cory Booker and now Democratic presidential candidate used to be the darling of Silicon Valley, but now he’s calling out the big tech giants including Google and Facebook.

He recently tweeted: “Tech platforms are becoming engines for discrimination, harassment, misinformation and extremism while stifling innovation. We need to use every antitrust remedy – including breaking up firms – to protect consumers, competition and our democracy.”

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And though he hasn’t outright supported fellow Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s call to break up the big tech giants, it seems he’s leaning that way. He has been outspoken in the past about corporate consolidation for years.

For example, in 2017 Booker said on the Recode Decode podcast that he was concerned about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. Booker said, “I believe this consolidation as well as other consolidations, we should be holding a far higher bar than we are when we approve these,” The Verge reported.

Booker’s stance against tech seems contrary to his former relationship with Silicon Valley. The New Jersey senator and former Newark mayor used to have strong ties to tech.

“Despite being a career politician, Booker briefly held the title of co-founder of the web video startup Waywire, attracting investments from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in 2012,” Inc. reported.

And for his political campaigns Booker raised funds from prominent Silicon Valley figures including Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

And in 2017, during a keynote speech at the South by Southwest conference Booker called for scaling back regulations in the tech sector.

“We have a government that is not moving at the speed of innovation,” he said. “We have to be a country that has a government poised to be a catalytic agent for innovation.”

“Booker also has cultivated working relationships with prominent tech entrepreneurs. As the mayor of Newark in 2010, he secured a $100 million donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for a foundation to reform the city’s public schools,” Inc. reported.