It's time to break up the Facebook says co-founder


Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, says some nice things about Mark Zuckerberg in a lengthy new essay he's written for the Sunday edition of The New York Times, which the paper has released online today along with a companion video (above). "For too long, lawmakers have marvelled at Facebook's explosive growth and overlooked their responsibility to ensure that Americans are protected and markets are competitive", Hughes said. Facebook has blown past earnings estimates in the past two quarters and its stock price barely budged in response to Hughes' opinion piece.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The solution, according to Hughes, is to have the government break up Facebook into multiple companies by enforcing antitrust laws and dismantling the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. "We need a new agency, empowered by Congress to regulate tech companies", he said.

Facebook's dominance is not an accident of history.

Zuckerberg has testified several times before Congress on issues of privacy and election meddling and spent much of a year ago apologizing and vowing to restore trust with Facebook's more than two billion users worldwide.

"He controls three core communication platforms-Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp-that billions for people use every day". The apparent avalanche of disasters hasn't dented Facebook's finances; its earnings per share increased 40% past year, despite a torrent of public failures.

Hughes regrets not sounding the alarm on Facebook sooner but is hopeful that a new era of accountability for Facebook is beginning. After Mark's congressional testimony a year ago, there should have been calls for him to truly reckon with his mistakes.

Facebook shares (FB) were down about 1% near midday Thursday at $187.65. He has the money and power to copy, buy, or squash his competitors.

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He also expressed concern that Zuckerberg had outsized power in such a dominant firm, saying: "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 argued.

Zuckerberg, he said, "has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice".

Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, said in a statement that he agreed that in retrospect that USA regulators "should not have approved Facebook's acquisition of Instagram & WhatsApp in 2012". Some legislators have called for federal privacy regulation and anti-trust action to break up big tech companies. Zuckerberg himself has called for regulation in a March op-ed published in The Post.

"This idea may seem un-American -we would never stand for a government agency censoring speech". On a whim, Zuckerberg can decide to a startup that's leveraging Facebook to grow like it did to. Her proposal, released in March, is supported by Senator Amy Klobuchar, another Democratic presidential candidate, who said the US has "a major monopoly problem". Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has made the breakup of American tech giants a pillar of her presidential campaign. "They've bulldozed competition, used our private info for profit, hurt small businesses & stifled innovation". The social media company said that attention should be directed instead on creating rules for the internet.

Facebook has been in advanced talks with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to settle a year-old investigation and said last month it expected to spend between $3 billion and $5 billion.

"The public is rightly asking whether Facebook is too big to be held accountable", Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote in a letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simmons.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.