Break Up Facebook, Says Facebook Co-Founder

Chris Hughes helped found the social media giant with Mark Zuckerberg

Maybe it's time Facebook started paying you for your data
Maybe it's time Facebook started paying you for your data
Photo by Chesnot/Getty

It’s been 15 years since Chris Hughes co-founded Facebook at Harvard and he hasn’t worked at the company for more than 10 years, but he still feels a deep responsibility for the impact the social media giant has had on society.

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Hughes writes the amount of power Mark Zuckerberg has is “unprecedented and un-American” and calls on the government to step in and break up the company because it is essentially a monopoly.

Hughes says Zuckerberg, who controls Facebook as well as Instagram and WhatsApp, has too much influence and that he is more powerful than almost anyone else in the private sector or in government.

“Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered,” Hughes writes. “He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.”

Also, as Hughes points out, if the government steps in against Facebook, it may cause other massive tech companies like Google and Amazon to change their strategies in order to avoid similar sanctions.

“The alternative is bleak,” Huges writes. “If we do not take action, Facebook’s monopoly will become even more entrenched. With much of the world’s personal communications in hand, it can mine that data for patterns and trends, giving it an advantage over competitors for decades to come.”

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