From ‘menace’ to assets: Soros now buying social media shares

From ‘menace’ to assets: Soros now buying social media shares
Months after denouncing social media as a “menace to society,” controversial billionaire George Soros is again investing into Facebook, Twitter and streaming services Spotify and Pandora, while scaling back his Google holdings.

With hedge funds filing their second-quarter statements with regulators this week, it has emerged that Soros Fund Management LLC is once again investing in Facebook. The fund has also bought shares in Twitter and the two streaming platforms, while selling off some stock in Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com.

News of Soros’s acquisitions have raised suspicions in circles that have long seen Soros as a foe of copyrights.

Facebook and Twitter stocks were rising at the time Soros made the purchases in June, though both took a dive at the end of July over disappointing earnings reports. Pandora and Spotify stocks have been a haven of stable growth in comparison.

Just a few months ago, Soros called social media companies a “menace to society” and denounced Facebook and Google for deceiving users by "manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes.”

He also compared social media platforms to casinos that entice customers to gamble away all of their money.

“Something very harmful and maybe irreversible is happening to human attention in our digital age,” Soros said at the World Economic Forum in Davos this January. Social media companies “are inducing people to give up their autonomy,” while the power to shape the public’s attention “is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies,” he added.

Soros Fund Management had reportedly sold off 300,000 Facebook shares in November 2017.

The Hungarian-born billionaire made his fortune in currency speculation, most famously for pocketing $1 billion by shorting the British pound in 1992. He has gained notoriety for funding a network of non-governmental organizations championing leftist causes in the US and across the world.

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