Salesforce CEO Benioff Steps Up Attack on Facebook, Social Media
Marc Benioff, billionaire, co-founder and chief executive officer of Salesforce.com Inc., gestures as he speaks in World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

Salesforce CEO Benioff Steps Up Attack on Facebook, Social Media

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(Bloomberg) -- Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff said consumer giant Unilever’s recent threat to pull ads from social-media sites is just the start of the backlash against questionable online content, stepping up his verbal attacks against Facebook Inc.

"You’re going to see the beginning of a movement," Benioff said on Tuesday at The New York Times New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, California. "When these crises hit, it’s like a tidal wave."

On Monday, Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed said the consumer products company won’t invest in "platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create divisions in society," according to the Financial Times. Weed’s comments sent shockwaves through the digital-ad world. Over the past year, many marketers have criticized Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube as they struggled to identify and stamp out inappropriate and politically explosive content.

Benioff has lately struck an assertive tone about social media’s ills. Last month, he said there would have to be more government oversight of technology companies, suggesting that Facebook should be regulated like the cigarette industry.

On Tuesday, he said Facebook’s decision to dismiss human editors in favor of algorithms was the catalyst for the company losing the public’s trust. "That started the downward spiraling that they’re in today," he said. The Salesforce CEO also repeated that Facebook and other social-media companies should face regulation, although he said he hasn’t spoken to government officials about this.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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