The dimensions and importance that Facebook has reached, which currently has 2.380 million active users every month only in its homonymous social network , have turned the company into “a danger to democracy” , according to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes , who also criticizes the “unprecedented” power of Zuckerberg , CEO and co-founder of the company.
In an opinion column published in The New York Times, Hughes believes that “the time has come to break Facebook”, appealing to the economic spirit against the monopolies of the founding fathers of the United States, such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
The Facebook social network currently has 2,380 million active users per month, with around 2,700 million people using at least one of the company’s services, which also includes Instagram and WhatsApp, according to its latest end results. of April.
According to Hughes estimates, Facebook accumulates more than 80% of the income of social networks in the world, which makes the company a monopoly, “a leviathan that expels entrepreneurship and restricts the choice of the consumer”, says its co-founder.
Hughes, who was present at Facebook since its inception in 2002, serving as its spokesperson, met Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University in 2002 and left the company in 2007 to volunteer to participate in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign of 2008.
Now, Hughes has denounced that “Facebook dominates both social networks that do not have to answer for their actions before the markets”, with a strategy that governments and regulators have approved as a responsible party.
Hughes has denounced that “the biggest mistake of the Federal Trade Commission of the United States (FTC) was to allow Facebook to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp “, an action that consolidated the position of the company also in the mobile market.
Measures to avoid Facebook’s monopoly
The co-founder has proposed several measures that governments, especially the United States, should take to avoid the monopoly of the company. According to the first one, “Facebook should be separated into several companies “.
Hughes believes that the US Federal Trade Commission “should apply antitrust laws to cancel the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp and prohibit future purchases in the coming years.”
As an additional measure, Hughes assures that the United States needs “a new agency, dependent on Congress to regulate technology companies, ” designed to protect the privacy of users, and that “it should create guiding principles for acceptable discourse on social networks.”
As an example, it cites legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD) of the European Union, which came into force last year.
Leadership of Zuckerberg
Likewise, Hughes points to the leadership of Zuckerberg as one of the causes that justify the need for the disappearance of Facebook. “The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is unilateral control over Mark’s (Zuckerberg) discourse.”
“There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people,” according to Hughes, who values the influence of his ex-partner as greater than anyone else in the private sector or in governments.
This influence does not have limits within the company itself, which ensures that “the Facebook board works more like an advisory committee than an inspector” because Zuckerberg would control about 60 percent of the total votes.
By itself, Zuckerberg “can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people can see in the News Feed, what privacy settings they can use, and even what messages are being sent, ” says Hughes.
Although he defines him as “a good and kind person”, Hughes believes that “his fixation on growth has led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks”, and he is disappointed that he did not predict the social influence he would have in the current news feed of Facebook.