Aaron Levie isn’t worried about his company, Box, being regulated — but he is worried about what happens if the government has to do something about Facebook.
“It’s a contagion because it’s going to reduce trust in these types of platforms,” Levie said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher.
Box’s clients include some of the world’s biggest companies, such as Coca-Cola, General Electric and Pfizer, helping their employees share files and collaborate securely in the cloud. Levie said it has a “strong vested interest” in seeing Google and Facebook “resolve their issues” and get on a good footing with wannabe tech regulators in the government.
“The worst-case scenario for us is that Silicon Valley gets so far behind on these issues that we just can’t be trusted as an industry,” he said. “We rely on the Fortune 500 trusting Silicon Valley’s technology, to some extent, for our success. When you see that these tools can be manipulated or they’re being used in more harmful ways, or regulators are stamping them down, then that impacts anybody, whether you’re consumer or enterprise.”
At the same time, he’s not opposed to regulation — in fact, Levie called for “super-savvy regulators” in every regulatory body who can work with tech more effectively.
“What news do you see? What person has to be harmed in a self-driving car accident?” he asked. “Those are fundamental questions, which means you need regulators to actually weigh in on, as a society, what are the outcomes we want and find acceptable? These are the questions that we are so early in and so incapable of answering, as an industry and a government.”
On the new podcast, Levie also talked about the larger “awakening” happening throughout the tech world around the impact of modern inventions on everything from politics to jobs.
He explained how a young entrepreneur like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would wind up where he is now, seeing in hindsight how the platform was weaponized by people spreading disinformation, among others. On the way up, someone just trying to build a cool product wouldn’t necessarily have the “deep paranoia” required to see the fault lines before they form.
“These things aren’t binary,” he said. “Zuckerberg knew the impact of Facebook when they did that one thing, Beacon — ‘Wow, I could actually hurt people’s personal lives if we publish things that people didn’t know we were publishing.’ But I don’t know that they ever did the whiteboard scenario, ‘Let’s imagine that you have a nation-state that’s trying to impact our election. What are the hundred ways you could manipulate an election in the U.S.?’”
If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:
- Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
- On Too Embarrassed to Ask, also hosted by Kara Swisher, we answer the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.