George Soros believes that internet giants such as Facebook and Google have become a ‘public menace’ and only the EU has the power to stop them.
He says that by influencing the way their users think without them realising it, the companies have made people easy to manipulate, and this ‘interferes with the functioning of democracy’, pointing to the election of Donald Trump as an example.
While US regulators are not strong enough to tackle the monopoly that Google and Facebook have acquired, Soros argues, the EU is much better placed to do so and has already achieved some success.
Geroge Soros believes internet giants have become a social menace by making their users easy to manipulate which he says interferes with the functioning of democracy
He is calling on EU regulators to crack down on the monopoly established by the likes of Facebook and Google, saying US watchdogs are ‘impotent’
The Hungarian-born billionaire put forward his argument in an opinion piece published by The Guardian.
In the piece, Soros bemoans the collapse of ‘open society’ which he says is being eroded by ‘mafia-states’ like Putin’s Russia and North Korea – and which says Donald Trump is trying to emulate in the US.
Internet firms, he argues, have contributed to this breakup of society in the short term by providing a platform through which people’s opinions can be manipulated and elections interfered with.
In the future, Soros fears that internet giants working with totalitarian governments could usher in a world ‘the likes of which not even George Orwell could have imagined’, saying China and Russia are likely to be the first examples.
The key to combatting this, he says, is proper regulation of the giants to ensure ‘competition, innovation, and fair and open access’.
Soros believes that in the short term, the dominance of internet giants has interfered with democracy, pointing to the election of Trump as an example. In the future he says totalitarian states such as Putin’s Russia could use the firms to exert extraordinary control over people
Soros calls on firms such as Facebook and Google to be regulated as public utilities, and argues the EU is best placed to start the drive.
‘It is only a matter of time before the global dominance of the US internet companies is broken,’ he writes.
‘Regulation and taxation, spearheaded by [the EU], will be their undoing.’
He points to a £2.1billion fine levied against Google last year by Europe for manipulating its search results as evidence the approach can work.
Since the election of Trump and Britain’s vote to leave the EU, Soros has risen to the forefront in the fight-back against nationalism, defending globalist causes and championing human rights organisations the world over.
This has also made him the target of attacks, both by individuals and governments, with perhaps the most visible example being in Hungary.
There, the far-right government led by Viktor Orban issued a series of billboards featuring Soros’s face as part of a drive to crack down on immigration.
Soros’s has been a vocal critic of nationalism and champions causes promoting globalisation and human rights. That has seen him become the target of attacks, including by the Hungarian government as it attempts to crack down on migration (pictured)
Orban says Soros is responsible for bringing migrants to Hungary that threaten national security. Those close to Soros say the posters are anti-Semitic and ‘recall Europe’s darkest hours’.
The billionaire has also come under fire recently after it emerged he was donating £400,000 to the campaign group Best for Britain to try and halt Brexit.
The group’s CEO Eloise Todd said Brexit could still be stopped by a meaningful vote in Parliament.
‘The UK’s future with the EU is not a done deal, there is still a vote to come and people across the country deserve to know the truth about the options on the table: one of which is staying and leading in the EU.’
Hungarian-born Mr Soros, one of the world’s richest men who made a billion dollars betting against sterling on Black Wednesday in 1992, accused critics of a maligning him, telling The Guardian: ‘I am happy to take the fight to those who have tried to use a smear campaign, not arguments, to prop up their failing case.’