Facebook co-founder says it's time to break up the social media giant

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has called for the break up of the social network, in an opinion piece in the New York Times.

“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American,” Hughes wrote on Thursday, referring to Mark Zuckerberg, his former business partner and college roommate and the current chief executive officer of Facebook.

Facebook owns the largest social network, with more than two billion users across the world. It also owns WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, each used by more than one billion people.

Hughes co-founded Facebook in 2004 at Harvard with Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz. He quit Facebook in 2007 and later said in a LinkedIn post that he made $500 million for his three years of work.

“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,” said Hughes, who later was an online strategist for Barack Obama during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

‘Mark is a good, kind person’

In one of a number of security and privacy scandals to hit the company, Facebook is accused of inappropriately sharing information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Hughes said he last met with Zuckerberg in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House energy and commerce committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2018. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

“Mark is a good, kind person, but I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” Hughes said.

“And I’m worried that Mark has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.”

Hughes is not alone in asking for the breakup of Facebook. Some lawmakers have called for federal privacy regulation and anti-trust action to break up big tech companies.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren in March vowed to break up Facebook, Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google if elected U.S. president to promote competition in the tech sector.

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