Big Tech honchos hailed Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump even though their companies could continue to face tougher scrutiny under the new administration.
Executives at some of the world’s most powerful tech firms — including some who have sparred with Trump in recent years — congratulated the president-elect after news outlets called the race in his favor over the weekend.
“Unity, empathy, and decency are not characteristics of a bygone era,” read a Saturday Instagram post from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whom the president has slammed over his ownership of The Washington Post and Amazon’s use of the US Postal Service.
“By voting in record numbers, the American people proved again that our democracy is strong,” he added.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates — an outspoken critic of Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic — also noted the record turnout in a Twitter post extending well wishes to president-elect Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.
“I look forward to working with the new administration and leaders on both sides in Congress on getting the surging pandemic under control, engaging partners around the world on issues like poverty and climate change, and addressing issues of inequality and opportunity at home,” Gates tweeted.
Microsoft president Brad Smith echoed Gates’ sentiment in a blog post calling for bipartisan cooperation on a range of tech policy issues, from expanding access to broadband internet to protecting voting systems from cyberattacks.
“The more bridges we can cross together, the more we likely will find that Americans of all backgrounds in every state and county share far more in common than we currently appreciate,” Smith wrote. “As we look to the next four years, this should give us not only reason for hope, but cause for optimism.”
Twitter chief Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — whom lawmakers grilled at a heated congressional hearing days before the election — hadn’t publicly weighed in by Monday morning. Neither had Google CEO Sundar Pichai or Apple boss Tim Cook.
Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are all targets of Trump administration anti-trust probes while social media giants like Twitter and Google’s YouTube have been accused by lawmakers of stifling conservative voices.
Biden and Trump both seem to agree on the need to rein in Big Tech’s sweeping power. For instance, the Democratic president-elect has expressed support for revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech giants from legal liability for content users post on their platforms.
Biden has also criticized Zuckerberg specifically, telling The New York Times in January that “he’s a real problem.”
“I’ve been in the view that not only should we be worrying about the concentration of power, we should be worried about the lack of privacy and them being exempt” from liability, Biden told the paper.
While Zuckerberg kept mum about Biden’s win, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg celebrated by applauding Harris’ historic win as the first woman of black and South Asian heritage to enter the White House, as did Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan.
“There are times when America takes a big step toward creating a government that reflects the diverse country we are. Today is one of those days,” Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, wrote in a post on the social network.