- Jim Young/Reuters
- Trump’s ex-chief economic advisor says banks were “more responsible citizens” prior to the 2008 financial crisis than some social media companies are today.
- Gary Cohn singled out Facebook and how it was used to criticise banks at the time, but is now facing its own woes.
- Cohn was president and COO of Goldman Sachs between 2006-17, so he plenty of experience in these matters – but he’s not the most impartial judge.
Gary Cohn, Donald Trump’s former chief economic advisor and the president and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs during the 2007-8 financial crisis, has some harsh words for Facebook and other social media companies.
The social network, Bloomberg reports Cohn said at an event on Saturday, is even less of a responsible citizen than the big banks were prior to the financial crisis.
“In ’08 Facebook was one of those companies that was a big platform to criticize banks, they were very out front of criticizing banks for not being responsible citizens,” the banker said.
“I think banks were more responsible citizens in ’08 than some of the social media companies are today. And it affects everyone in the world. The banks have never had that much pull.”
Facebook has been reeling these past few months, trying to recover from a chain of scandals – from political firm Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of tens of millions of users’ data, to the social network’s role in the spread of disinformation and scandals. (Cohn’s remarks were reportedly focused on election influence and fake news.)
The company is now trying to emphasise that it has turned a corner. CEO Mark Zuckerberg now holds the line that Facebook “takes a broader view of our responsibilities” than it has in the past, and it has made a number of changes to its features and products. But not everyone is convinced.
The remarks by Cohn, who was at the helm of Goldman Sachs between 2006 and 2017 and advisor to Trump between 2017 and 2018, illustrate that some people treading the corridors of power are viewing Facebook’s public pledges to change with skepticism.
But it’s worth noting that given his old job, Cohn might not be considered the most impartial judge of whether or not the banks were “responsible citizens” prior to the crash.
A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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