There have been a few calls from prominent figures in recent months for Facebook (and other tech giants) to be broken up. The latest person suggesting this fate for the social network is its own co-founder though: Chris Hughes, who worked on Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg in its earliest days at Harvard.
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Hughes was keen not to be seen as attacking Facebook’s CEO: “He’s human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic,” he wrote. “Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government… 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.” But he goes on. “Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks… And I’m worried that Mark has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.”
The article is very long, but well worth setting aside some time to read: the gist is that Hughes thinks the US government should step in. “The American government needs to do two things: break up Facebook’s monopoly and regulate the company to make it more accountable to the American people.”