On May 9th, the New York Times published an Op-ed written by Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder, in which he called for the fragmentation of the social media company. Now, according to CNET, many politicians have joined in his rhetoric and called on Facebook to relinquish its largely unbridled power.
“The company’s mistakes — the sloppy privacy practices that dropped tens of millions of users’ data into a political consulting firm’s lap; the slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news; and the unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention — dominate the headlines,” he wrote. “It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade. But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility.” Hughes left Facebook in 2007.
Many politicians have quickly sided with Hughes, and Elizabeth Warren, progressive Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential hopeful, is of the most notable and unsurprising. The idea of breaking up big tech companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook in favor of smaller businesses has long been a major part of her platform.
“Chris Hughes is right. Today’s big tech companies have too much power — over our economy, our society, & our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private info for profit, hurt small businesses & stifled innovation. It’s time to #BreakUpBigTech,” Warren tweeted.
Kamala Harris, California democratic senator and fellow 2020 presidential hopeful, also spoke out in agreement with Hughes, emphasizing the fact that Facebook functions largely as a necessity for most Americans. “I think we have to seriously take a look at that [breaking up Facebook], yes,” she told Tapper. “So we have to recognize it for what it is. It is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated.”
In addition to Warren and Harris, Ro Khanna, Democrat from California, and Richard Blumenthal (Democratic senator from Connecticut) have called on the breakup of the scandal-ridden social media company.