Jack Ma, the billionaire co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, urged Mark Zuckerberg to tackle the growing criticism aimed at Facebook Inc. by regulators and users around the world, and “really take it seriously.”
China’s richest man and chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on Monday weighed in on the controversy, calling on his fellow internet pioneer to “fix” a social network that had grown explosively over the past decade and a half. Asked at the Boao Forum about the Facebook furore, the billionaire started dismissing questions but then couldn’t help opine on the crisis facing the U.S. company.
Facebook’s shares have tumbled since the company disclosed in March that it may have shared the personal data of tens of millions of users with Cambridge Analytica, a research firm that helped elect President Donald Trump. Enraged users launched a #deletefacebook campaign and regulators around the world are investigating its handling of sensitive personal information.
“It is the time to fix it. It is the time for the CEO to really take it seriously. I think the problems will be solved,” Ma told delegates to the annual conference on the sunny island of Hainan.
Ma stopped short of laying out his views in detail but did say the social network was valuable and that its issues may have arisen simply because of its phenomenal and unprecedented expansion.
“We should not kill the company because of these problems,” he said. “I will say, Facebook 15 years ago, they never expected this to grow like that. All the problems they could not realize came up.”
Ma also expressed concern about a looming trade war between the U.S. and China. He said American jobs would be lost if the relationship between the two countries worsens, instead of Alibaba being able to fulfil an earlier pledge to help create 1 million new positions.