Published: Fri, May 10, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Facebook Co-Founder: It's Time to Break Up the Company

Facebook Co-Founder: It's Time to Break Up the Company

Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, is calling for the breakup of the social media juggernaut, citing the threat of the platform's unchecked power and that of founder Mark Zuckerberg.

In 2012, he purchased a majority stake in the New Republic and spent years trying to turn the magazine into a more digitally driven media company. Hughes called on the USA government to "hold Mark accountable", adding that Zuckerberg's "focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks".

"We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be".

Since Zuckerberg controls most of Facebook's voting shares, the board works "more like an advisory committee", Hughes wrote, leaving it up to Zuckerberg alone to decide the algorithms behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook rejected this argument in a statement Thursday afternoon, suggesting that regulation of the internet - as Zuckerberg called for in a March op-ed published in The Washington Post - was the only thing that would bring real accountability.

Aside from Hughes, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has called for a breakup of tech leaders such as Facebook, Amazon and Google, arguing that the companies have engaged in anticompetitive mergers and other unfair business practices.

Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, says the social networking giant has stifled innovative startups and competitors with its dominating strategy.

"Even when people want to quit Facebook, they don't have any meaningful alternative, as we saw in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal", Hughes added, referring to the 2017-2018 data mining scandal involving the harvesting of the data of 97 million Facebook users without consent. Investors realize that if a company gets traction, Facebook will copy its innovations, shut it down or acquire it for a relatively modest sum. We need a new agency, empowered by Congress to regulate tech companies. (FB.O) with Mark Zuckerberg from their Harvard dorm room, said the company has become too powerful and influential and should be broken up. His "influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government", because he controls what billions of people around the world see and hear.

Hughes does not necessarily hit Facebook for cracking down on speech, such as the recent deplatforming of Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan, and instead hits at the company's seemingly monopolistic empire.

"The public is rightly asking whether Facebook is too big to be held accountable", Sen. At the same time, an FTC fine levied against Facebook that could be as high as $5 billion could be coming down the pike soon. "There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people", Hughes wrote. We will have to create similar standards that tech companies can use.

"A New Textbook of Americanism" author Jonathan Hoenig, former investment banker Carol Roth, Kaltbaum Capital Management President Gary Kaltbaum and FBN's Kristina Partsinevelos on how Facebook banned extremist figures from its website.

Hughes also calls for a new agency in charge of regulating technology companies, with a focus on privacy.

He says the agency should "create guidelines for acceptable speech on social media" while noting that the idea might seem "un-American" at first.

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