Co-Founder: Break Up Facebook, Zuckerberg Has 'Unchecked Power'

Co-Founder: Break Up Facebook, Zuckerberg Has 'Unchecked Power'

Despite its myriad scandals - Russian propagandists exploiting the platform to spread misinformation and sway USA elections, the sharing of millions of users' personal data with the political data firm Cambridge Analytica and companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix - Facebook's reach continues to grow.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for the break up of Facebook today, arguing in a New York Times op-ed that the site needs to be reined in because its CEO Mark Zuckerberg has "unchecked power" in modern life. "But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility", said Hughes, who later was an online strategist for Barack Obama during the 2008 us presidential campaign.

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.

Hughes argues that Facebook's acquisitions of rivals Instagram and WhatsApp should be undone, and that the company should be temporarily blocked from making future mergers.

Citing the developer's inability or unwillingness to be more active in stopping the spread of misinformation, hate speech and calls for violence, Hughes says Facebook can not be allowed to continue operating in its current fashion.

Hughes is not alone in asking for the break-up of Facebook.

For one, Hughes isn't an economist or politician-but someone who helped build Facebook and knows Mark Zuckerberg personally.

(FB.O) with Mark Zuckerberg from their Harvard dorm room, said the company has become too powerful and influential and should be broken up.

Hughes also suggests the creation of a new government agency specifically to empower Congress to regulate tech companies and protect user privacy. Otherwise, he noted, Facebook could hold on to its monopoly status for decades. He calls it a "monopoly" of mammoth scale and says it never should have been allowed to buy Instagram and WhatsApp.

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In March, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren promised to break up Facebook, Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, if elected president. "But I'm angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks", wrote Hughes, who is now co-chairman of the Economic Security Project and a senior adviser at liberal think tank the Roosevelt Institute.

Chris Hughes co-founded Facebook with Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz at Harvard University in 2004.

"I feel a sense of anger and responsibility", he wrote, lamenting the company's "slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news". "There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people", he wrote.

He also stated that although government regulations are required to ensure privacy protection, users may choose to still stay on Facebook due to the absence of alternative platforms.

Hughes said the company's success is from sabotaging competitors, buying them out, copying them or shutting them down.

Hughes said he last met with Zuckerberg in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.

Facebook has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment about Hughes' calls for a major breakup.

Hughes said the break-up, under existing anti-trust laws, would allow better privacy protections for social media users and would cost United States authorities nearly nothing.

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