Elder Patriot – Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes today called for the government to break up the self-appointed arbiter of acceptable speech in a New York Times op-ed.
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.
The government must hold Mark accountable. 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.
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.
It is time to break up Facebook.
… Ohio Republican John Sherman said on the floor of Congress: “If we will not endure a king as a political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation and sale of any of the necessities of life. If we would not submit to an emperor, we should not submit to an autocrat of trade with power to prevent competition and to fix the price of any commodity.” The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 outlawed monopolies. More legislation followed in the 20th century, creating legal and regulatory structures to promote competition and hold the biggest companies accountable. The Department of Justice broke up monopolies like Standard Oil and AT&T.
Republican attorney Harmeet Dhillon discussed the immense power being exercised by the social media giants:
… Republicans are ignoring this at their peril and I keep saying this, I feel like Cassandra, I keep saying this, we are going to lose every election going forward if we don’t put a stop to this bias. Either conservatives who are being paid off by Big Tech or are simply ill-informed either say ‘oh well this is just competition, this is just the market if you don’t like Twitter or Facebook go make your own.’ These are all statements made by people who have never started their own companies and who are paid by think tanks, they don’t know what it means to start a business so that’s ludicrous.”