Buttigieg: Political leaders need 'some kind of literacy' to regulate tech giants

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D), one of the youngest presidential candidates in the crowded Democratic field, told The Mercury News that political leaders must improve social media and technological literacy if they hope to regulate those companies.

Discussing recent congressional hearings in which Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook Biden campaign calls on Facebook to change political speech rules MORE and other social media and tech executives testified before Congress last year, Buttigieg said the hearings were “a spectacle of people in charge of regulating a very powerful force demonstrating that they had no concept of what it was they were in charge of overseeing, which is incredibly dangerous.”


Politicians and regulators, the 37-year-old mayor said, “need some kind of literacy in these technologies, what they mean and more importantly what they can do, in order to regulate properly.”

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Buttigieg, a Harvard alumnus, became Facebook’s 287th user in 2004, when the social network was still exclusively used by students at the university. “I don’t think any of us could have guessed what implications that technology would have in the long run,” he told the newspaper.

Buttigieg, in contrast to candidates like Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.), has stopped short of calling for the breaking up of tech giants like Facebook, instead suggesting tighter regulations such as restrictions on new mergers. He has said much of Silicon Valley “still have a David mentality when they’ve increasingly turned into Goliath” but argued that tech companies’ decisions are made “perhaps, not necessarily with bad intentions” and that, in his experience, executives are aware of the issues with social media saturation and are “really reflecting on what they wrought.”

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