Zuckerberg Pledges to Fight Sen. Warren Over Facebook's Future

FCC's Pai weighs in on issue of Big Tech transparency
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Mark Zuckerberg is firing back at presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) over her threats to break up the company and FCC chair Ajit Pai has weighed in, at least on the overarching issue of Big Tech and Washington. 

According to audio tapes of a company meeting obtained by The Verge, Zuckerberg said: "If Elizabeth Warren thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies, if she gets elected President, then I bet that we will have a legal challenges, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. Does that still suck for us," he added, "Yeah." 

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Warren has made breaking up big companies one of her campaign themes, and she is hardly alone on the Hill in wanting to shake up, if not break up, Big Tech.

Pai was asked on Fox & Friends Wednesday (Oct. 2) about that brewing battle and whether Warren had a point about the need for breaking up Big Tech. Pai is on the record suggesting it is time that edge providers get at least as much scrutiny as ISPs.  

Pai would not comment on the issue directly since the FCC does not regulate the edge. He suggested that question would be better put to the Federal Trade Commission or Justice Department, which divvy up primary 'net oversight following the FCC's ISP deregulation that was upheld this week by a federal court. But he did use the opportunity to renew his criticism of the differential regulatory treatment for ISPs and the edge behemoths who arguably wield as much or more power over the 'net. 

"What I can say, though, is a lot of these Silicon Valley tech giants were telling Washington to impose these so-called net neutrality regulations (Firefox parent Mozilla was took the lead on the legal challenge to Pai's dereg) on other companies and it's hard to say that one sector of the economy is not being transparent if you're not being transparency yourself." 

He was asked if it frustrated him that the FCC did not have a say in the edge. He did not say yes or no, but pointed out he has long called for "transparency and consumer protection across the entire internet economy. That is a break from his predecessor, Tom Wheeler, who focused on ISPs as the snakes in the virtuous internet garden.  

Pai said current law does not provide for that equal treatment. "Current law at least doesn't give the FCC the jurisdiction to do that. That's one of the reasons why Congress is thinking about how we should update the law to match the realities of the digital age."

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