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'Russia weaponizing Facebook' is a tipping point for how much we rely on tech, says author

  • The ease in which Russia was able to buy political ads on Facebook shows how much influence tech companies have amassed in America, says Scott Galloway.
  • The notion that someone with a credit card "can pay in rubles to start advertising and sewing chaos here is probably the tipping point," he says.
  • Galloway is author of the new book, "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google."

The troubling ease in which Russia was able to buy thousands of political ads on Facebook in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election shows just how much influence major technology companies have amassed in modern-day America, NYU business school marketing professor and author Scott Galloway told CNBC on Wednesday.

The notion that someone with a credit card "can pay in rubles to start advertising and sowing chaos here is probably the tipping point," said Galloway, author of "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google." The new book explores the sway big tech holds over consumer attention, loyalty and personal information.

Facebook on Monday said roughly 10 million people saw advertisements bought by Russian groups trying to influence the November election. The social network released those details as it turned over about 3,000 ads to House and Senate lawmakers.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees are investigating possible links between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, which both sides deny.

"The most innovative use of technology in 2017 was Russia weaponizing Facebook," Galloway said in a "Squawk Box" interview while discussing his book. "The thing that's made it worse is the underreaction or half measures by Facebook, refusing to acknowledge, in my view, the important role that the fourth estate plays in our society."

Facebook has been asked to appear at public hearings by three different committees in the coming weeks to give details on the Russian ad effort. The company said there are limits to its ability to stop people from using its site to undermine democracy.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Galloway, a brand expert and founder of the RedEnvelope e-commerce firm, predicted in May that Amazon should consider buying Whole Foods, a month before the deal was announced. He said at the time he did not have any inside information and tweeted that he got "lucky."

— Reuters contributed to this report.

WATCH: Full interview with Scott Galloway

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