When it comes to dealing with tech giants like Facebook there should be a “menu of options” available — including splitting them up, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told CNBC on Friday.
“One of the tools in the toolbox definitely has to be a consideration of breaking up companies like Facebook, ” he said on “Closing Bell. “
“The reason why we worry about monopolistic behavior is when you have this concentration of wealth and power in one company or two companies, really it’s a power that transcends democratic forms of government,” he added.
“It’s the power to manipulate what we think, what we believe.”
Joseph Huff-Hannon sets up a display of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cutouts on the east lawn of the Capitol ahead of his testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on the protection of user data on April 10, 2018.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, pushed back against the idea of breaking up the social media giant.
“You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don’t address the underlying issues people are concerned about,” Sandberg told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin.
But one former Facebook staffer, co-founder Chris Hughes, has called for regulators to break up the company.
When asked about Sandberg’s comments, Brnovich replied: “We need to be really careful when the people that helped create the problem are now telling us how best to address the problem.”
Brnovich is one of several state attorneys general studying the issue, thanks to concerns over things such as the manipulation of what’s being seen by users and the lack of competition, and secondary issues, such as the effect on traditional reporting.
And no matter the party affiliation, “We all recognize this is a major and significant problem,” he said. “It is one of the biggest issues facing the country, and we need to get on top of it because there are ramifications for all of us.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.