Why it is time to break up the Facebook company
Facebook Inc co-founder Chris Hughes has called for the company to be broken up. The former roomate of the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said this in a lengthy opinion piece in the New York Times.
Hughes says that Zuckerberg has “unchecked power” and influence “far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government.”
“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,” Hughes wrote on Thursday.
Facebook owns the largest social network with more than 2 billion users across the world. It also owns WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, each used by more than 1 billion people.
Hughes co-founded Facebook in 2004 at Harvard with the company’s Chief Executive Officer Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz. He quit Facebook in 2007 and later said in a LinkedIn post that he made half a billion dollars for his three years of work.
“It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade. But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility,” said Hughes, who later was an online strategist for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
In one of a number of security and privacy scandals to hit the company, Facebook is accused of inappropriately sharing information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
Hughes said he last met with Zuckerberg in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.
“Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” Hughes said.
“And I’m worried that Mark has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.”
Hughes is not alone in asking for break-up of Facebook. Some lawmakers have called for federal privacy regulation and anti-trust action to break up big tech companies.
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren in March vowed to break up Facebook, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google if elected U.S. president to promote competition in the tech sector.