Billionaire investor George Soros launched a scathing assault on Facebook and Google on the Davos summit on Thursday, calling them monopolies that may very well be manipulated by authoritarians to subvert democracy.
During an annual dinner he hosts on the World Economic Forum, held this week within the Swiss alpine resort, Soros turned his sights on a bunch of topics together with US President Donald Trump and the hypothesis frenzy surrounding the bitcoin cryptocurrency.
But a lot of the Hungarian-born financier’s ire was reserved for the tech giants of Silicon Valley who, he argued, wanted to be extra strictly regulated.
“Facebook and Google effectively control over half of all internet advertising revenue,” the 87-year-old advised diners throughout a speech.
“They claim that they are merely distributors of information. The fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.”
He predicted that tech giants would “compromise themselves” to entry key markets like China, creating an “alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data rich IT monopolies.”
“This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined,” he warned.
Predicting governments would begin to extra closely regulate the sector he mentioned: “Davos is a good place to announce that their days are numbered.”
Known for his legendary profitable foreign money buying and selling, Soros dismissed bitcoin as a “typical bubble”.
But he mentioned the cryptocurrency would probably keep away from a full crash as a result of authoritarians would nonetheless use it to make secret investments overseas.
He described Russia’s Vladimir Putin as presiding over a “mafia state” and referred to as Trump a “danger to the world”.
But he predicted that the US president’s attraction wouldn’t final.
“I regard it as a purely temporary phenomenon that will disappear in 2020 or even sooner.”
But the investor’s conventional Davos predictions don’t at all times pan out. Last yr in Switzerland he warned that the inventory market rally would finish after Trump’s election and that China’s development fee was unsustainable.
China’s development has continued whereas US shares are commonly hitting report highs