You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Instagram Chief Backs Up Mark Zuckerberg’s Leaked Comments About Facebook Fighting Government Breakup

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri unsurprisingly seconded his boss’ internal comments to Facebook staff that a government breakup of the tech colossus wouldn’t help fix issues plaguing social platforms like election interference and the proliferation of hate speech.

Mosseri, in an appearance Wednesday on NBC News’ “Today,” addressed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent remarks to employees — which surfaced in audio leaked to tech publication the Verge — that an Elizabeth Warren presidency would “suck” for the tech giant and that the company would “go to the mat” to fight attempts to break it up. The Democratic senator has made it part of her platform to dismantle Facebook and other big internet companies.

“Those comments were in an internal meeting, so he was being very candid, but generally I really do agree and stand by the comments that we don’t think it’s a good idea to break us up,” Mosseri said on “Today.”

Mosseri acknowledged, “It makes sense to me that people would be anxious about our scale” but said, “There’s a few things that it’s really good for. If you want to prevent interference in elections, if you want to reduce the spread of hate speech on the platforms, we benefit massively from working together closely.”

Mosseri — a longtime Facebook exec who took over as Instagram CEO after the departure of founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger last year — also talked about Instagram’s tests to eliminate “likes” on the platform.

“The big idea is to try and make Instagram feel less pressurized, to make it less of a competition and you can spend a little bit less time worrying about how many likes you have and a little bit more time connecting with people or things that inspire you,” he said.

In the leaked audio, from Zuckerberg’s Q&A with employees in July, he said, “You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies… If [Warren] gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah.”

Zuckerberg added, “I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government,” but said “at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”

A U.S. government move to break up big tech companies, “whether it’s Facebook or Google or Amazon, is not actually going to solve the issues,” Zuckberg also said. “And, you know, it doesn’t make election interference less likely. It makes it more likely because now the companies can’t coordinate and work together.”

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg included a link to the Verge story about his leaked Q&A in a post on his Facebook page. “[E]ven though it was meant to be internal rather than public, now that it’s out there, you can check it out if you’re interested in seeing an unfiltered version of what I’m thinking” about topics including breaking up tech companies, the Facebook CEO wrote.

Warren responded to Zuckerberg’s comments on Twitter, writing in one tweet, “What would really ‘suck’ is if we don’t fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy.”

Facebook is the target of ongoing antitrust probes by the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice and multiple states attorneys generals about whether it has abused its market power.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Tye Sheridan

    Tye Sheridan Starring in Survival Thriller 'Wireless' From Steven Soderbergh for Quibi

    Quibi has ordered another show with notable Hollywood talent attached: scripted series “Wireless” starring Tye Sheridan with Steven Soderbergh on board as executive producer. In the made-for-mobile-screens thriller, a smartphone has a central role. Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”) plays a self-obsessed college student who is stranded in the Colorado mountains after he crashes [...]

  • Instagram

    Instagram Testing Hidden Like Counts Globally

    Like counts will be disappearing from Instagram all over the world starting this week: The Facebook-owned photo sharing service is extending its test of hiding like counts to all of its territories, Techcrunch was first to report Thursday morning. Instagram began hiding like counts for a subset of its users in Canada this spring, and [...]

  • Ted Sarandos - Netflix

    Ted Sarandos Says Disney Plus Launch Changes 'Nothing' for Netflix

    Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos claims he’s not getting distracted by huge competitors — like Disney — rumbling into the company’s streaming turf. The exec was asked what has changed for Netflix with the Nov. 12 launch of Disney Plus, which the Mouse House boasted as having signed up over 10 million users so [...]

  • Game Awards OrchestraThe Game Awards, Show,

    Game Awards 2019 to Play on 53 Cinemark Screens Alongside 'Jumanji: The Next Level'

    This year’s Game Awards, recognizing the top video games, creators and esports of 2019, is coming to the silver screen. In a three-way partnership, the Game Awards, Cinemark Theatres and Sony Pictures are teaming on a superticket program pairing the Dec. 12 live simulcast of the 2019 Game Awards in 53 Cinemark locations with a [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Jax Media Soars by Amplifying Unique Voices of Auteur TV

    Jax Media has emerged during the past few years as one of television’s busiest and buzziest production companies. The New York-based company headed by four partners — Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Brooke Posch — has an enviable track record of scouting new voices and executing stylish shows on a less-than-stratospheric budgets. The [...]

  • Variety Digital New Leaders

    Execs From Endeavor Audio, Group Nine Among Those Leading the Way in Digital

    Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content