A Facebook cofounder penned an opinion piece that claiming that it’s past time for the federal government to regulate Facebook.
Chris Hughes used most of his New York Times opinion piece to bash Facebook for “empower[ing] nationalist leaders,” not cracking down hard enough on fake news, and for its “slow response to Russian agents.”
Most of the piece was the typical leftist jargon that encapsulates the big tech debate. The political left wants the government to regulate Facebook so the company has more power to control the world’s largest public forum. The political right wants the government to step in and stop the obvious censorship of conservative opinions. In any case, Hughes provided a glimpse into the power wielded by Zuckerberg.
Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day. Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. 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.
Zuckerberg’s old friend, despite describing him as “a good, kind person,” does not think Zuckerberg is responsible enough to handle the power that he has obtained.
“The government must hold Mark accountable,” Hughes said. “For too long, lawmakers have marveled at Facebook’s explosive growth and overlooked their responsibility to ensure that Americans are protected and markets are competitive.”
Before launching into a thousand-word history of the competitive environment in which Facebook competed during its early days, and describing Zuckerberg’s goal of “domination,” Hughes put offered a simple directive.
“Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American,” he said. “It is time to break up Facebook.”
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