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Facebook's problems could only get worse, investor Roger McNamee says

  • It isn't good enough for Facebook to say it will hire more people and punish those who misuse the social media site after the fact, Roger McNamee said.
  • The problem is Facebook and Google's business models rely on advertising in a highly competitive world, he said.
  • Apple, he said, is part of the solution in stopping online manipulation.

Facebook's problems could only get worse, as the full scope of how Russia used the social networking site are not yet fully known, said Roger McNamee.

McNamee, co-founder of Elevation Partners, was an early investor in Facebook and Google. He has been at times a vocal critic of the tech companies.

With billions of users, Facebook was an amazingly effective platform to spread information, he said. Because of that, Facebook doesn't mess with democracy and say it's not accountable.

"Their position that they don't need to do anything is a bit like the NRA, which is it could work but if it breaks it's going to kill the trust in the platform, and that's what really worries me," McNamee told CNBC's "Fast Money" on Thursday.

It isn't good enough for Facebook to say it will hire more people and punish those who misuse the social media site after the fact, he said. Instead, the tech giant needs to prevent those situations from happening.

"There needs to be some guard rails that protect consumers from being manipulated," McNamee said.

Facebook is in a different position than Twitter. On Twitter, people generally know there are fake accounts known as bots, and they don't interact directly with people as much, he explained. On Facebook, those bots are impersonating humans and are interacting with people who think they are real.

The problem is Facebook and Google's business models rely on advertising in a highly competitive world, he said.

Apple is the outlier of the group because it sells products, he said. Their new operating system prevents videos from automatically playing, which McNamee said is important for breaking addiction habits. It also offers ad blocking and tracker blocking extensions on Safari.

"Those things are really meaningful, and I think Apple is part of the solution here. And I think, candidly, over time, will benefit in its business," he said.

Facebook and Twitter have been invited to testify on Capitol Hill on Nov. 1 about Russian meddling in the elections.