Facebook Is ‘Too Big.’ Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Tells Us Why | NYT Opinion
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Facebook Is ‘Too Big.’ Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Tells Us Why | NYT Opinion


This is me back in
my college days. And this is my
roommate, Mark. Together, we founded
Facebook in 2004. Now, 15 years later, I think Facebook has grown
too big and too powerful. Every week brings
new headlines about privacy violations,
election interference or mental health concerns. I haven’t been at the
company in over a decade, but I feel a sense
of responsibility to account for the
damage done. Americans have the
power to right the ship through government action. We need new regulations. It’s time to break up Facebook. The early days of Facebook tell a classic American
story of innovation and entrepreneurship. From
our college dorm room, we started a little social
network for our friends that exploded in popularity
and connected the world. Mark’s hustle in
those early years made it possible for Facebook
to dominate our rivals like Friendster, MySpace,
Tumblr and many others. These competitors
made us better. And then we beat them out. This is how it’s supposed
to work in America. Hard work leads to economic success. You start a small business
and compete on the merits to provide a better product. Today, nearly three billion
people use Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp,
and they’re all owned and controlled
by the same company. Of every dollar spent
buying ads on social media, $0.84 goes to Facebook. It’s now worth over
half a trillion dollars. That’s roughly the size of
the G.D.P. of the bottom 65 countries in the
world — combined. It’s not just that Facebook
is a really big social network. It’s everything. When a single company
dominates any market, they become susceptible
to abusing their power. Social networking is like most
other American industries. There used to be plenty
of healthy competition. But now many industries
are controlled by just one or two companies. Companies often create
an illusion of choice. You think there are hundreds
of beer brands out there, but they’re all made by
one or two companies. Why is this a problem? Well, when companies
get too big, they get sloppy and
careless, and that leads to things like poor
privacy practices, enabling foreign actors to
meddle in elections, the spread of violent rhetoric,
fake news and the unbounded drive to capture more of
our data and attention. I often hear people say, “I’m
shutting down my Facebook account. Thank God for
Instagram,” not realizing that Instagram is
owned by Facebook. People are powerless
in this situation because there’s
nowhere else to go. Monopolies stifle innovation. Facebook snatches
up competitors by buying them before
they get too big. Or, by copying
their innovations. Despite all the
money and hype being poured into new
startups, there hasn’t been a single
major social media platform launched since 2011. The harm goes beyond
he economy though, it goes to
democracy itself. When companies become empires,
people are stripped of power. Facebook’s employees
write complex rules called algorithms that decide what
you see in your News Feed. Facebook can decide what
messages get delivered and which don’t. And what exactly makes for violent or inappropriate content. Even Mark himself has said
that he and the Facebook team have too much
power over speech. Facebook does have a
board of directors. But Mark owns the
majority of the shares. Unlike the leader
of a democracy there are no checks and
balances on Facebook. Mark has no boss, and
he cannot be fired. Listen, it’d be great if
Mark can fix this himself. But this, ironically,
is a problem he cannot solve. We need the government to
intervene with two steps. First, the
Facebook empire needs to be broken up. America’s regulated
corporate empires before, and we can do it again. This isn’t unprecedented
and surprisingly, it often boosts the
value of these companies in the long run. The Federal Trade Commission can force Facebook to unwind
its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. Then we’ll see
real competition around social media and
digital messaging. Breaking up Facebook isn’t a punishment
for its economic success. It’s a way to guarantee that other new companies can compete. We also need a new government
agency to protect Americans from the overreach of Facebook
and other companies like it. Think about it. We don’t trust airlines or
pharmaceutical companies to regulate themselves. We shouldn’t trust social
media companies either. We need basic privacy
protections and the ability for people to move their
data around as they please. Right now Facebook makes free
speech decisions on its own with little accountability. Instead, we need government to
set guidelines, not Facebook employees in Menlo Park. I don’t think Mark’s a bad guy
and I’ve made this decision to speak out because I feel
a sense of responsibility for what Facebook has become. And to be honest, I’m
angry that Mark’s obsession with growth led him
to sacrifice security for clicks. I think we all want
to live in a country where David can take
on Goliath, where a kid with a smart
idea in a dorm room can start a billion-
dollar company. We’ve strayed from that
ideal, and breaking up and regulating Facebook
will help put us back on that path.

100 thoughts on “Facebook Is ‘Too Big.’ Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Tells Us Why | NYT Opinion

  1. Of all the current issues, we’re talking about Facebook… so the thinking is, since government has done so well with everything else, we can trust it to “fix” Facebook?

  2. David Fincher was right. He neatly depicted the true story, i guess. I think it's time for "The Social Network 2".

  3. And the laws are already in existence for monopolistic take down. The Government shouldn't be allowed to do anything but create appropriate laws to cover new realalities.

  4. "I haven't been at the company for over a decade." That single statement renders his opinion as relevant as my opinion. Like when Steve Wozniak comments on Apple after leaving in 1985.

  5. This guy is salty as sh*t. Why try to break something great build new app and do what you want to solve!

  6. Every great athlete wants to compete with the best athlete at his best. Weakening the best athlete against the laws of nature is not glorifying nor motivating. If laws need to be put into place to protect peoples privacy that is a different matter that has nothing to do with the size of the organization.

  7. It's really not that complicated, just abandon Facebook and invest in your company's website or start a personal blog. Not a big deal.

  8. If I knew how to build an app or even had the financial ability to so I'd build the biggest and largest public platform available. I've laid out a few plans on how to make my platform come alive but It's only a dream for now. I truly believe I have a billion dollar idea…I just need someone to partner with who can make my dream come alive. I'm only stating this because you say nothing has been developed since '09…..I've got the plans….and I believe my idea will connect the world in a whole new way…..maybe one day I will see it be brought to life.

  9. Hi my name is stupid.
    I dislike facebook, I look down on facebook and hates everything facebook stands for.

    ** Stupid still uses facebook**………………………….

  10. I don't care what's happening around me… I don't have eny control over it.. We vote its never herd, we speek no one lisense…. Just focos on saving your self and when you become as wealthy and powerful as these people, you can then make good changes!! You can't compeat with sumone who has more money than you… The laws on there side unfortunately… But if that was you it wouldnt be a bad thing… Its not about what there doing its about what your doing for your self!, with the things within your power…. Emajen if Hitler had the money Jeff benzo had! He culd be a worse person if yiu think about it… And again we don't have use amazon least that way you know you haven't helped profit his pockets….
    Or even still put money on amazon stocks if you think its only gonna make. More money and least that way you get a piece of the pie, Give money to what you belive dont use it just cos its convenient or eazyer coz that's the trap!! Take control ov your own mind and actions because if not sumone esle will use you for there own benifits… Just like you invested your time to make money, use that money to make your time!

  11. Anybody missing Tom now? Say what you will about MySpace, but at least he was my friend (unlike Mark).

  12. Chris i think ur planning to start ur own company ur worth 500 million. Mark has come to far to go back now.

  13. Facebook did gave google plus and its predessor orkut a run for their money. Shutting down a whole social media website for a company like google.

  14. How did he cofound it with Mark? I thought Mark was hired by the Winklevoss brothers and then stole their idea altogether.

  15. Judging by Mark looking like he wants to die every time he meets with gov. Officials, it seems very clear he’s no longer in charge.. there are greater powers controlling FB now. Mark is a puppet, a very scared puppet.

  16. Facebook is the definition of idiocy/stupidity…
    Maybe you wanted to say Google/YouTube is too big.
    Ignorance irritates me…

  17. You mr. Bla Bla bla are just a bad roommate who waited very long time to make drama now. You could do something early as co-founder. Now help and collaborate but don't make drama because at the same time your ex-rommate feeds millions of people…bottom line. Find the way if you wanna help and create opportunities, feeds families. And STOP your pity party..

  18. #1 I do agree with this.,.. #2 Does anyone else feel there's just a bit of jealousy here?

  19. MARK master of Face book is Anti America , Anti first Amendment anti end Amendment.Face book just blocked me for the third time because l am PRO LIFE PRO FIRST AMENDMENT AND PTO AMERICA.Mark is pro Killing new born babies, Pro Fascism , Hateful Liberalism , Pro terrorism and Mark hires terrorists from Pakistan to block people. .Mark is immoral Vulgar wolf.

  20. Here we go with psychopaths acting like normal humans on camera for people to find them relatable and convincing again!

  21. Also, I'd like to completely remove Instagram and Facebook from my phone. Currently, I can only "disable" it.

  22. ive realized that facebook and other social media has drawn people from the reality of interacting with eachother in the physical public and has destroyed many great friendship. nothing is the same as i watch these smartphones explode.

  23. He is wrong on Mark Zuckerberg and his family. Mark Zuckerberg and his horrible wife and children are horrible.

  24. abandon facebook and google. break them up–yes, but dont let him kid you; they want government regulation. gov regulation will thwart free-speech and make it impossible for startup companies to meet government regulations, such as monitoring and controlling content. thereby killing competition.

  25. FB licked me out of my account and stole my photography a week later my malamutes photos came across in dogfood ads I attempted to contact fb several times w no response.. very bummed

  26. Facebook answer to NOBODY i have a case that i know i am in the right, 8 emails and they refuse to provide evidence of my so called wrong doing on a ads account. They outright have refused everytime and just brush me off with the same scripted reply each time which isnt even on topic, they decided it best to now delete me completely and stop my ability to even complain. There is no phone number and i cant even take legal action as they have blocked me out. I am literally deleted! This is disgusting any other company trading standards would deal with and shut down. Facebook dominate and answer to no body this needs to change

  27. It should be illegal for big companies to buy smaller companies without some type of permission from said company

  28. Actually in US the government trusted the aviaiton industry to control itself and drastically scales Federal Aviation Administration back. Guess what happened? Two Airbuses crashed killing hundreds of people because they were controlling themselves. Case in point

  29. Facebook was actually started by our government. The DARPA program was deemed unconstitutional for invasion of privacy and was ended…The very next day Facebook was born …they did the same thing..gathered all your person information. look up DARPA

  30. All these idiots: do you want to break up America big companies when China is seeking dominate their territories against FB, Amazon, Google? Why don’t we just break up California, NY and Texas, because America is too big, too powerfull?

  31. The problem isn't just FaceBook. It's the diversity industry and government itself which is controlled by big Jewish money and oligarchy control controlling free speech and creating hate speech laws which discriminate against right wing thought.

  32. Or, maybe cashing out in 10 years too early left you shorted several billion dollars, and your problem is not that facebook is too big, but your payout was too small. You wreak of envy — go cry on your boyfriends shoulders.

  33. Fb is backed by the government for the purpose of "the new world order". We have until BEFORE 2020 to make our stand. BOYCOTT FB, G👀GLTUBE.. Tbh i think its out of Zuckerburgs control.

  34. I hate FACEBOOK ITS EVIL. VERY EVIL. SOOO MUCH DANGER MURDERS LURES YOUNG ONES INTO TROUBLE…
    NO WONDER JESUS SAYS..THIS """SYSTEM""" BELONGS TO SATAN
    SATAN USED MARK TO PRODUCE A TITANIC EVIL
    FACEBOOK IS A OCTOPUS THAT WITH HIS TENTACULES COVERS THE WORLD WITH POISON

  35. Very smart people exploiting the weak minds of the majority of humanity. People live on Facebook more than actual life! That’s sad.

  36. Mark zuckerberg has more power as most government…your kids and grandkids will hate you in the future for putting everything on Facebook and instagram. Any government in this world will never get rid of Facebook or instagram , then they want all the information about you.and what do you think a government do with all them information about you, you're friends and family? Only the future can tell….

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