It’s time to break up Facebook, says co-founder Chris Hughes
Mark Zuckerberg‘s power and staggering influence go far beyond “that of anyone else in the private sector or in government,” opined Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, while calling for the government to break up the tech giant.
In a lengthy opinion piece published by the New York Times on Thursday, Hughes — who helped Zuckerberg transform Facebook from their dorm room back in 2004 to the social media giant it has transformed into — is calling for stricter regulations against the company that holds a “powerful monopoly” in its domain.
“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 per cent of voting shares.” wrote Hughes. “The government must hold Mark accountable.”
“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well-intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American. It is time to break up Facebook,” he adds.
Along with breaking up the company, Hughes urged the US government to set up an agency to regulate tech companies.
“We need a new agency, empowered by Congress to regulate tech companies. Its first mandate should be to protect privacy, he wrote. “The agency should also be charged with guaranteeing basic interoperability across platforms.”
It must be recalled that Facebook faced global reputational damage last year when analytics company Cambridge Analytica was found misusing user data of over 87 million users to build tools to influence the 2016 US Presidential elections.
“After Mark’s congressional testimony last year, there should have been calls for him to truly reckon with his mistakes,” he further writes. “Instead the legislators who questioned him were derided as too old and out of touch to understand how tech works. That’s the impression Mark wanted Americans to have, because it means little will change.”
Since then, the company has faced a range of scandals, namely over data privacy and the spread of misinformation. Just last month, it admitted to “unintentionally” uploading email contacts of 1.5 million new users.
The matter came to light after a security researcher recently noticed that Facebook was asking new users to provide their e-mail passwords upon sign up. Once the password is entered, a message would prompt that the user’s contact was being imported, without any permission, reported Business Insider.
Facebook has also been criticised for its loopholes that allow racism to thrive on its platforms. However, the company has recently expressed willingness to take a stronger stance against white nationalism and white supremacy, in particular. (ANI)