2020 hopeful Beto O'Rourke says he'd rather see Big Tech regulated than broken up

  • The comments take a slightly different tack than Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her proposal to dismantle some of Silicon Valley's giants, but ultimately pit another Democratic 2020 candidate against the likes of Facebook and Google.
  • Facebook, Google and Twitter have faced something of a reckoning in recent years, in light of revelations around foreign disinformation campaigns on the platforms.
  • Warren's proposal to break up tech giants stemmed more from concerns around competition, while O'Rourke appears to be focusing on user privacy and abuse of ad-based business models.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks during a meet and greet at Plymouth State College on March 20, 2019 in Plymouth, New Hampshire.
Scott Eisen | Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks during a meet and greet at Plymouth State College on March 20, 2019 in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke said Wednesday he'd rather see Big Tech regulated than broken up.

The comments take a slightly different tack than Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her proposal to dismantle some of Silicon Valley's giants, but ultimately pit another Democratic 2020 candidate against the likes of Facebook and Google.

"I'm not sure if having five more Facebooks — if you broke up Facebook into five component parts, or any of these other large social media or technology companies — makes as much sense as regulating them, given the power they have [and] the way in which they can be used, wittingly or not, to undermine our democracy and affect the outcomes of our elections," O'Rourke said at a meet and greet in New Hampshire, according to the CNN reporter who asked the question of the candidate.

Facebook, Google and Twitter have faced something of a reckoning in recent years, in light of revelations around foreign disinformation campaigns on the platforms. Each company has since removed accounts and posts that purported to be U.S. citizens and stoked debate around divisive political and social issues.

Warren's proposal to break up tech giants — which also included Amazon and Apple — stemmed more from concerns around competition, while O'Rourke appears to be focusing on user privacy and abuse of ad-based business models.

"I think the best way to approach the fact that people have become the products on these platforms — that our privacy has been violated; that we're confronted with 37-page user agreements ... is to regulate them more seriously, and perhaps to treat them a little bit more like a utility," O'Rourke said.

WATCH: Why this expert says Sen. Warren's call to break up big tech needs work