Billionaire Hungarian-American investor George Soros has issued a severe critique of social media and US tech giants, warning that companies such as Facebook and Google are “inducing people to give up their autonomy.”
Speaking on Thursday evening at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Soros — who has an estimated net worth of around €6.4 billion ( billion) — made it clear that he felt large Silicon Valley companies were becoming more a force for bad than good.
“They deliberately engineer addiction to the services they provide,” he said in the Swiss ski resort. “Social media companies are inducing people to give up their autonomy. The power to shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies.”
Soros spoke of the risks of such power, pointing to the 2016 US presidential election as an example of how large tech companies, such as Facebook, can influence and inform public opinion through the content it hosts and shares.