Former U.S. President Barack Obama, attends the Nordic Business Forum business seminar in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday Sept. 27, 2018. (Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva via AP)

Obama to companies: Engage govts to avoid the Facebook fate

September 27, 2018 - 12:13 pm

HELSINKI (AP) — Former U.S. President Barack Obama is urging private businesses to engage more with governments when developing new products and services, particularly in the technology sector, to avoid problems like those challenging Facebook.

Obama told business leaders Thursday in Helsinki, the Finnish capital, that "you cannot separate the business environment from the political and social environment."

Obama was being interviewed by Niklas Zennstrom, the Swedish billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder of Skype.

Obama says "too often" U.S. business leaders tend to avoid the government "as much as" they can. He says "that strategy can work for a time, but eventually — as I think Facebook has now discovered — you're going to have to engage."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken before the U.S. Congress this year on privacy issues.

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