Zillow CEO defends Facebook: The look in Sheryl Sandberg's eyes shows she's 'taken this to heart'

  • Weighing in on tech regulation from the Code Conference on Wednesday, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff rushed to Facebook's defense.
  • He said the social network shows evidence of a "cultural shift," and executives are now more wary of the negative potential of their creation.
  • As CEO of Zillow, a tech company breaking into the radical new territory of flipping houses, Rascoff seemed himself wary of regulation.

Weighing in on tech regulation from Recode's Code Conference on Wednesday, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff rushed to Facebook's defense. He said the social network shows evidence of a "cultural shift," and executives are now more wary of the negative potential of their platform.

In an interview on Tuesday with Recode's Kara Swisher, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said she and other Facebook leaders "didn't see coming a different kind of more insidious threat, but once we saw it, we did publish a white paper" and made some changes. Rascoff felt the interview was evidence of a pivot in thought by leadership at Facebook.

"More important than actual regulation will be that companies take seriously the impact of their platform – and yes, I do think Facebook has realized that," Rascoff said on Wednesday.

"I really think that the cultural shift they talked about yesterday is real. You can see it in Sheryl's eyes," he added on CNBC's "Squawk Alley."

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg at Recode Code 2018.
Asa Mathat | Vox Media
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg at Recode Code 2018.

Facebook has come under fire multiple times this year, both for mishandling user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and for failing to control malicious players who used the platform to "wage information warfare" in the U.S.

"The Facebook executives I have talked to really have taken this to heart. They feel guilty, they feel that their platform was used in a way that it was not designed for. They really are throwing resources and intellect at the problem," Rascoff said

As CEO of Zillow, a tech company breaking into the radical new territory of flipping houses, Rascoff seemed himself wary of regulation, whether it's housing or social media.

"If there is regulation, I want to make sure it is intelligent regulation. We are not off to a great start in that sense," Rascoff said.

"One thing that Sheryl said that is worth pointing out, she said frequently regulation entrenches large companies. Let's make sure any regulation we have doesn't prevent the next Facebook that's being, hopefully, developed by two girls in a garage somewhere," he added.