Chris Hughes helped Mark Zuckerberg transform Facebook from a dorm-room project into a real business. Now, he’s calling for the company to be broken up.
Hughes also called on the US government to break up Facebook’s business model to democratise its monopolistic power.
Hughes said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, has unprecedented power to “monitor, organize and even censor conversations of two billion people”.
“He controls three core communication platforms—Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp—that billions for 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,” Hughes said.
“Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for click”.
Hughes also noted some privacy scandals that have trailed the social media company recently and its ongoing negotiation with the federal trade commission (FTC).
He added that neither the measures of fine instituted by the FTC nor Facebook’s plans to beef up users’ data protection will make any difference.
I’m calling for breaking up @Facebook in an essay in the @nytimes. FB has become too big and too powerful, and it’s part of a trend in our economy of an increasing concentration of corporate power. We can fix this: break the company up and regulate it. https://t.co/34rITPfvJ9
— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes) May 9, 2019
According to him, Zuckerberg’s monopolistic business strategy to shut down competitors is responsible for the absence of any major social media innovator since 2011.
“Investors realize that if a company gets traction, Facebook will copy its innovation, shut it down or acquire it for a relatively modest sum,” he said.
“So despite an extended economic expansion, increasing interest in high-tech start-ups, no major social networking company has been founded since the fall of 2011.”
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.
“[Zuckerberg] has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice. It’s on our government to ensure that we never lose the magic of the invisible hand,” Hughes writes.
He said if the government insists on not breaking up or regulating the company, Facebook’s monopoly will become more entrenched that competitors will have no equal opportunity to compete with Facebook for decades to come.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, said in a statement that accountability “can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet.”
“Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability,” he said. “But you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company.”
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