Facebook has grown so dominant that it is one of the world's largest nations, and co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is effectively the dictator of that country, according to Peter Sunde, the co-founder of the Pirate Bay file-sharing site.
Sunde made his remarks during an interview with CNBC at a conference in Amsterdam organized by The Next Web. "Facebook is the biggest nation in the world and we have a dictator, if you look at it from a democracy standpoint," Sunde said. "Mark Zuckerberg is a dictator. I did not elect him. He sets the rules."
Although membership in Facebook is voluntary, the Pirate Bay founder said there is an impact on people's lives if they don't belong to the giant social network, because so much of the interaction among family members and friends takes place on Facebook.
You can't opt out of Facebook. I'm not on Facebook but there are a lot of drawbacks in my offline world. No party invitations, no updates from my friends, people stop talking to you, because you're not on Facebook. So it has real life implications.
The idea that Facebook (fb) is essentially a sovereign nation gets reinforced when political leaders treat the company like a nation-state and Zuckerberg like a political leader, Sunde said. For example, he mentioned how German Chancellor Angela Merkel confronted the Facebook CEO about the site's handling of anti-immigration posts.
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"We send major leaders of Europe to ask him to stop interfering with our local culture. How did we end up in a situation like this?" Sunde asked. The Swedish-born Pirate Bay founder said that he wished European politicians would be "a little bit more hard core" and censor Facebook or stop it from operating in their countries if it refused to play by the rules.
Sunde's criticism of Facebook for not obeying laws in Europe is somewhat ironic, since the site he and several colleagues founded is notorious for facilitating massive amounts of copyright infringement by allowing users to find and download illegally copied movies and software. Sunde spent five months in jail in 2014 for his involvement in the site.
The Pirate Bay founder also criticized Facebook for forcing people to use their real names on the site, which he said was responsible for users being persecuted in some countries. "Mark Zuckerberg is a rich white dude from a really privileged background," Sunde said. "The reason for the real name policy is Mark Zuckerberg wants to make another dollar."