Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes wants to break up Facebook. Here’s why.

1

“It is time to break up Facebook.”

 

 

That’s not from a privacy activist or politician. It was written by Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook with his Harvard roommate Mark Zuckerberg in the early 2000s.

In a very lengthy op-ed for the New York Times published on Thursday, Hughes officially joined the growing calls to break up the social network. While Hughes hasn’t worked at the company for a decade, the former Facebook spokesperson might now be the strongest voice to make the case.

The Facebook co-founder laid out a convincing case to break up the company: his friend, former roommate, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg simply has too much power.

“Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day. Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.”

Hughes says that Zuckerberg’s quest for “domination” back when MySpace was the leader in the space has brought us to a point where it’s impossible for any company to compete.

When a social media app gains traction, like Instagram or WhatsApp, Facebook acquires them. If a company starts to take off due to a specific feature set, like Snapchat with its Stories, Facebook simply copies them. On a whim, Zuckerberg can decide to take down a startup that’s leveraging Facebook to grow like it did to Vine.

“As a result of all this, would-be competitors can’t raise the money to take on Facebook,” explains Hughes. “Investors realize that if a company gets traction, Facebook will copy its innovations, shut it down or acquire it for a relatively modest sum.”

“Despite an extended economic expansion, increasing interest in high-tech start-ups, an explosion of venture capital and growing public distaste for Facebook, no major social networking company has been founded since the fall of 2011,” he added.

The company’s dominance in the social media space leaves Facebook’s billions of users with little alternatives. Without the threat of competition, Facebook faces little to no accountability for password leaks or data privacy scandals like with Cambridge Analytica.

Zuckerberg himself has called for government regulation to help reign in big tech, his own company included. However, Hughes says that this is not enough.

“Mark Zuckerberg cannot fix Facebook, but our government can,” he argued, calling the Facebook CEO’s power “unprecedented and un-American” and saying he must be held accountable. “The American government needs to do two things: break up Facebook’s monopoly and regulate the company to make it more accountable to the American people.”

Hughes said the company should be separated into three distinct entities: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

“The FTC’s biggest mistake was to allow Facebook to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp,” he continued, urging that this needs to happen before Zuckerberg goes ahead with his plan to merge the three platforms.

He also blasted the FTC’s settlement with Facebook stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook is expected to agree to privacy oversight measures as well as pay a monetary fine of up to $5 billion. Hughes argued that Zuckerberg prefers these slaps on the wrist because it distracts people and keeps a feared antitrust case at bay.

In addition to breaking up Facebook, Hughes would like to see a new set of regulations for big tech companies. He called for a law in line with Europe’s GDPR that would give Americans control over their data across all platforms. The Facebook co-founder also stated the need for a new federal agency that would provide oversight, protect users’ privacy, and create social media guidelines for speech.

The calls to break up some of the country’s biggest tech companies have been gaining steam in recent years. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, notably called for the reversal of Facebook’s mergers earlier this year while advocating for breaking up the tech behemoths. Years earlier, Lina Khan, a law student at Yale, upended how anticompetitive behavior is considered while making the case to break up Amazon.

Hughes believes that a strong response to Facebook here would send a message to other tech giants as well as reverse a decline in antitrust enforcement in the U.S.

“If we don’t have public servants shaping these policies, corporations will,” Hughes warned.

 

Source: Mashable

 

1 Comment
  1. Ali Popularis says

    Very interesting info !Perfect just what I was searching for! “Wherever the Turkish hoof trods, no grass grows.” by Victor Hugo.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!