Chris Hughes, who started Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, joins a growing chorus of privacy advocates and politicians who have called for antitrust action.
By Ben Popken
A co-founder of Facebook called for the government to break up the tech giant in an op-ed article Thursday in The New York Times.
“The Facebook that exists today is not the Facebook that we founded in 2004,” Chris Hughes, who started Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg in their Harvard dorm, told NBC News after the op-ed was published.
“And the one that we have today I think is far too big. It’s far too powerful. And most importantly, its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is not accountable,” Hughes said of his former business partner.
For more on this interview, tune in to NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt at 6:30 p.m. ET.
“I have been friends with Mark and a lot of the other folks at Facebook for a long time. And you know, who knows? We may still be friends, we may not be friends. There are some kinds of friends that you can have disagreements with. And then there are some friends that you can’t,” Hughes said.
Hughes joins a growing chorus of privacy advocates and politicians from the right and the left, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a presidential candidate, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who have called for federal antitrust action against Facebook.
The mood in Washington has soured against the former tech darling in recent years after the leaks of millions of users’ personal information and the disclosure that its platform had been manipulated by Russian propagandists to spread misinformation and undermine democracy.
More than a dozen Congressional hearings have produced apologies from Zuckerberg, executives and lawyers, and commitments to prevent further harm, but watchdogs say the company has not gone far enough and argue that it is abusing its power.
In March, Warren said that, if elected president, she would call for federal regulators to “unwind anti-competitive mergers,” including forcing Instagram and WhatsApp to once again spin off from Facebook. She also called for the separation of Whole Foods and Zappos from Amazon, and the ad network DoubleClick from Google.