- Jul 31, 2021
One of the people who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg 15 years ago, Chris Hughes, has made an appeal in which he asks to “break” Facebook. In a long article of opinion published in The New York Times, he assures that the acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram by Facebook should be reversed to favor competition in the social media and messaging sector.
In his text, Hughes lists the different scandals in which both the company and its head, Mark Zuckerberg, have been immersed, whom he defines as a “good and kind person“. However, he believes that his influence is astounding, “much greater than that of anyone else in the private sector or in the government” and that his focus on growth “led him to sacrifice security and civics for clicks.”
The co-founder of Facebook feels responsible for the monopoly, so he describes it, what has been created and its consequences: “I am disappointed with myself and the first Facebook team for not thinking more about how the news feed algorithm could change our culture, influence elections and empower nationalist leaders. “
Chris Hughes, in addition to carrying out a detailed economic analysis, is clear from the outset with the company’s remarkable control over society by owning three large global platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, with billions of users each.
And, in relation to that power, it addresses the US authorities :
“We are a nation with a tradition of controlling monopolies, no matter how well-intentioned the leaders of these companies are. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.”
It’s time to break Facebook.
The co-founder of the social platform argues that has become a monopoly, in his opinion, competition has been limited and innovation has been held back. In fact, he says that this “powerful monopoly” eclipses rivals and eliminates competition in its category. “This explains why, even during the 2018 annus horribilis, Facebook’s earnings per share increased by an astonishing 40 percent compared to the previous year,” he says.
For these reasons and many others, believes that Facebook should be dismantled. Specifically, we speak of a disintegration of the company, a division of its parts. Hughes relies on the separation of the giant AT & T between the seventies and eighties or the sale of Wild Oats in 2009 as precedents of what could be done with Facebook.
Beyond the monopoly or not of the company led by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder is concerned about the influence of these platforms. The lack of democratic oversight of the processes that shape the action of the algorithms that dictate what millions of people should see every day on their wall of the social network.
Only Mark can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their news sources, what privacy settings they can use and even what messages are sent in. It establishes the rules to distinguish violent and incendiary discourse from mere offensive and can choose to close a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying.
In addition to the disintegration of Facebook, Chris Hughes asks the administration of the United States to create a government agency that aims to regulate technology companies such as Facebook in order to protect the privacy of people. Ending the position of the company that controls the social network that helped found, he says, is not enough.
While praising the General Regulation of Data Protection of the European Union, explains that this agency would also be responsible, as he imagined, of “ensuring basic interoperability across all platforms” and “creating guidelines for acceptable discourse in networks social. ” Although he recognizes that the idea may seem “anti-American,” he maintains that there are already limits to, for example, shouting “fire” in a theater. “We will have to create similar standards that technology companies can use,” he says.