SPEAKING OUT

Silicon Valley’s products helped shape the US election, but its CEOs have little to say about the result

Obsession
2016
Obsession
2016

Facebook, Twitter, and their Silicon Valley ilk are among the biggest distributors of online news in the US, making them major players in the recently concluded presidential election. Yet their CEOs are either issuing bland statements or staying silent about the outcome.

The most outspoken tech boss so far has been Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who put out a tweetstorm about political power, accountability, and human rights.

By contrast, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a note published on Facebook, elides Trump’s victory by saying the work to improve the world is “bigger than any presidency.”

Zuckerberg goes on to talk about goals far in the future that will affect his nearly one-year-old daughter Max, like “curing all disease,” “connecting everyone,” and “improving education.” The closest he gets to playing politicals is when he mentions “promoting equal opportunity.”

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella said “we congratulate the president-elect” in a LinkedIn post. He pointed to a longer article by Microsoft president Brad Smith, who hammered home points about data privacy and security, while congratulating Trump and underlining the “peaceful transition of power” to come.

The CEOs of Apple, Google, and Tesla have remained largely silent on social media. Apple chief Tim Cook hasn’t posted anything since Diwali greetings on Oct. 30, though he did write to Apple employees about diversity. Google’s Sundar Pichai’s last tweet was about how Google would display election results. Tesla’s Elon Musk simply retweeted Glenn Greenwald on Trump’s likely pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

Dorsey’s position on politics isn’t without irony. Twitter and Facebook have been called “weaponized filter bubbles” that allow fake news and trolls to run rampant. Here’s one response to Dorsey’s tweetstorm:

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