Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook in 2004 along with Mark Zuckerberg, now says that Facebook is becoming a powerful monopoly with no accountability that must be broken up by the government.
Hughes expressed his views in an opinion piece for the New York Times.
Hughes left the company to work in the 2008 presidential campaign for Barack Obama. Since witnessing the global rise of Facebook’s popularity, Hughes felt a need to voice his concerns about Facebook’s growing corporate power.
Hughes wrote that he is very concerned about Facebook’s near uncontrolled free speech and privacy authority over its 2 billion users.
“The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech…There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people,” wrote Hughes.
If Facebook’s practice of buying out or shutting out competitors is left unchecked it will become immune to regulatory control, argues Hughes.
Many people think they can leave Facebook to use Instagram or WhatsApp instead. As Hughes points out, most people are unaware that both companies are owned by Facebook.
Hughes also believes that Facebook is becoming a monopoly behemoth that can shut out, buy out, or copy the proprietary technologies of its competitors.
Soon, he states, people will have no other social media alternatives besides Facebook or its subsidiaries.
The Federal Trade Commission is partially to blame, according to Hughes. “The F.T.C.’s biggest mistake was to allow Facebook to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp” back in 2012, he asserts.
Facebook commands more than 80% all global revenue from social networking traffic.
The company is worth anywhere between $360 billion to half a trillion dollars. Zuckerberg himself has a net worth of more than $72 billion.
Facebook may soon be fined up to $5 billion by the FTC for violating the privacy of its users.
Hughes said the fine was due to a 2011 FTC warning that Facebook reportedly “ignored.”
The Democratic senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, another Facebook critic, called the potential FTC fines “barely a tap, not even a slap on the wrist” and a “bargain” for Facebook.