Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com’s (CRM) founder and CEO, has become an outspoken figurehead in the tech industry. At the company’s 15th annual Dreamforce event, Benioff said the current controversy surrounding fake news on tech sites is an important moment for the entire sector.
“This is, I think, a marquee moment in our industry because what you basically heard from companies like Facebook and Twitter is that they’ve created these amazing new technologies but even they don’t know how they’re being used and they don’t even know who’s using them,” Benioff said. “Well, that’s unacceptable. These companies have to take full responsibility for the technology that they’ve created and to make sure that it’s being used in a proper way with the right morals and values that we would expect any corporation to be led by.”
Benioff added, though, that his doesn’t necessarily mean long-term damage to the companies.
“I think for a lot of these companies, I hope for them it’s a short-term issue and they put it behind them. Companies have growing pains or challenges but at the same time, they have to take this seriously and they have to take these issues head-on.”
CEOs need to speak up to social issues
Meanwhile, Benioff said there is more pressure for companies to speak out on important issues that go beyond the core business.
In fact, he began his most recent quarterly conference call in August, addressing the racism and violence in Charlottesville that month.
“I think CEOs have no choice but to become more activist in their leadership and the reason why is their employees demand it, especially their millennial employees,” Benioff said. “They demand that their CEOs represent them. That’s why you see us fighting for LGBTQ equality or more diversity of inclusion or gender equality and for the environment.”
Nicole Sinclair is markets correspondent at Yahoo Finance
For more on the interview with Marc Benioff, please see:
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