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Elizabeth Warren and Mark Zuckerberg spar over breaking up big tech

Facebook's CEO expressed distaste for an Elizabeth Warren presidency to employees. A recording of those comments was recently released, and Warren fired back.

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren had some strong words on Twitter for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The head of the social media giant recently critiqued her views on breaking up big tech, saying an Elizabeth Warren presidency in which she put forth her plan to break up big tech companies like Facebook would "suck" for the company, according to leaked audio and transcripts of that audio published by The Verge

Zuckerberg also said that the company would be ready to take legal action should Warren become president and begin to implement her plan to break up the company, according to the recordings. 

In transcripts of the leaked audio from July, Mark Zuckerberg is quoted as saying, "You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies." Zuckerberg goes on to say, "If she 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."

Zuckerberg said the prospect of a legal challenge would "suck" for Facebook. 

"I don't want to have a major lawsuit against our own government," Zuckerberg said, "but look, 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." 

Zuckerberg went on to say, "It’s just that breaking up these companies, whether it’s Facebook or Google or Amazon, is not actually going to solve the issues. 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." 

Elizabeth Warren responded, on twitter, saying, "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."

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Warren went on to promote the hashtag #BreakUpBigTech and spoke about her plan to separate mergers like the one that happened with Instagram and Facebook, so that they would have to compete with each other. 

Credit: AP
Elizabeth Warren, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Warren's idea is that competition would lead to the companies doing more to protect the privacy of users.   

According to multiple reports, Facebook is currently under investigation by the attorneys general of 8 states for "anticompetitive conduct."