Marc Benioff, is an outspoken and activist CEO for Salesforce, and recently told CNN that he would prefer the government breaks up Facebook, a social media platform giant. However, Benioff’s own company, Salesforce, is a very powerful and large company similar to Facebook, which makes his comments slightly hypocritical.
The CEO told CNN that he preferred Facebook being broken up, which is a common refrain on the 2020 Democratic Party campaign trail among multiple candidates. Benioff’s reasoning was Facebook’s addictive tendencies. He said, “It’s addictive, it’s not good for you, they’re after your kids, they’re running political ads that aren’t true … and they’re also acquiring other companies and co-mingling [data those companies have on their users] into theirs.” He added, “And I think at that point, because they’re now doing that, that they probably should be broken up. Because they’re having an undue influence as the largest social media platform on the planet.”
Facebook, over the years, has acquired other technology and social media platforms, such as the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp (which is commonly used outside of the United States) and Instagram.
Benioff has criticized Facebook in the past. CNN noted that in 2018, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he compared Facebook to cigarettes due to addictive behavior.
Yet, Benioff will not criticize his own company for how large it has grown. Although growth and progress are good, Salesforce has become a force of its own in the customer relationship business, spawning professions such as “Salesforce administrators” and the like. In other words, Salesforce’s platform requires a specific profession for it, which in turn creates a bureaucratic largesse similar to Facebook.
What is also left unsaid is whether Benioff would invest in social media to compete with Facebook, or if Facebook is broken up, if Benioff would enter into the social media space as a competitor. Benioff’s intentions are unclear and should be taken into account when his criticisms are made public.
As background, Benioff was a donor to Trump’s challenger in 2016, Hillary Clinton, and said that he netted $500,000 in donations for Clinton at a San Francisco, California fundraiser in addition to donating $2,700 to her campaign. He said he doubted Trump would win the 2016 election, but has since been cordial with the Trumps after Trump won the election.
Salesforce provides customer relationship management (CRM) software for companies and businesses, ranging from marketing, sales, and commerce and is one of the largest CRM companies in the United States, if not the world.