Facebook co-founder calls for breakup of Facebook

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Tough new regulation also looks increasingly likely.

Later in the essay, Hughes turns from criticizing Zuckerberg to calling for regulators to break up Facebook, much the same way AT&T was broken up in the 1980s.

Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, is calling for the breakup of the social media juggernaut, citing the threat of the platform's unchecked power and that of founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Citing the developer's inability or unwillingness to be more active in stopping the spread of misinformation, hate speech and calls for violence, Hughes says Facebook can not be allowed to continue operating in its current fashion.

A co-founder of Facebook has called for the government to break-up the company, warning that Mark Zuckerberg's power is "unprecedented and un-American".

"I'm angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks", Hughes wrote. He and other early Facebook founders didn't foresee how the News Feed algorithm "could change our culture, influence elections and empower nationalist leaders", he wrote.

Hughes also called for a new federal agency to regulate tech companies whose "first mandate is to protect privacy". Which is one reason he's pushing to blend the technology that underpins its three main messaging services, including Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Chris Hughes helped Mark Zuckerberg transform Facebook from a dorm-room project into a real business.

In a statement, Nick Clegg, Facebook's VP of Global Affairs and Communication, said "Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability".

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Members of Silicon Valley's elite, including senior executives from Apple Inc., Google and Microsoft Corp., have called for some form of greater oversight of the tech industry. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for.

Representative Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, said in a statement he agreed in retrospect that US regulators should not have approved Facebook's acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

"The public is rightly asking whether Facebook is too big to be held accountable", Sen.

"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", Mr. Hughes wrote. The Federal Trade Commission, which has some oversight, is expected to slap Facebook with a fine of as much as US$5 billion soon as part of a settlement over privacy violations stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal a year ago.

According to Hughes, the US Federal Trade Commission made a huge blunder in allowing Facebook to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of MA, for one, released a plan in March that would impose new rules on tech companies with $25 billion or more in annual ad revenue, forcing Amazon and Google to dramatically reduce their hold on online commerce. "They've bulldozed competition, used our private info for profit, hurt small businesses & stifled innovation".

"But the biggest winners would be the American people".

He added that neither the measures of fine instituted by the FTC nor Facebook's plans to beef up users' data protection will make any difference.

Hughes regrets not sounding the alarm on Facebook sooner but is hopeful that a new era of accountability for Facebook is beginning.

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