Popular social media platforms are deliberately designed to be addictive and should be regulated in the same way as cigarettes, says American entrepreneur and tech CEO Marc Benioff.
The Salesforce chief executive was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when he made the suggestion that governments should become more involved in the tech world.
“There is some regulation but there will probably have to be more,” Benioff told CNBC.
“I think you’d do it exactly the same way you regulate the cigarette industry. Here’s a product, cigarettes, they are addictive, they are not good for you. Maybe there is all kinds of different forces trying to get you to do certain things. There are a lot of parallels,” he said.
Benioff, head of the American cloud computing company Salesforce, believes companies are deliberately making their services more addictive.
Social media has come under greater scrutiny in recent years amid concerns over the spread of so-called ‘fake news’ and the way information is proliferated and censored on news feeds or in search algorithms.
Facebook has recently announced changes to its news feed to fight disinformation, spam and clickbait posts. In a statement on January 19, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the social media giant will ask users to rate news sources appearing on their feed.
“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today. Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them. That’s why it’s important that News Feed promotes high quality news that helps build a sense of common ground,” he said.