Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes appeared on MSNBC Thursday night following the publication of his New York Times op-ed that calls for the social media platform to break up its internet monopoly.
“As time has gone by, I’ve become increasingly convinced that Facebook is too big,” Hughes said to Chris Hayes about the social media network, which acquired both Instagram and WhatsApp in the last decade.
However, Facebook has made its fair share of headlines in the last few years, often finding itself at the center of major controversies, most notably the Russian misinformation campaigns of the 2016, as well as the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018.
Hughes, who left the company seven years ago, went on to say that his co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has “too much power” and that the lack of competition from other social networking sites is the reason there have been so many mistakes made by the company in recent years.
“[Zuckerberg is] not really accountable to users because there’s nowhere else to go,” he said.
Hughes made it clear that despite his aversion to the way the company is run, he believes that its problems are a result of the amount of concentrated power Facebook’s billionaire CEO holds over the company, not who Zuckerberg is as a person.
“It’s not that Mark is a bad person, but it is true that his power is too big, and it’s up to government to step in, break up the company, and regulate it,” he argued.
Hughes noted that despite Silicon Valley pushback against regulation, he believes that government should serve as guard rails for private tech companies in the same way airline and pharmaceutical companies are regulated.
Hughes worries it will become increasingly more difficult to break up the company due to the way they are operating with their various platforms. He explained that up until recently, Facebook.com, Instagram and WhatsApp largely operated separately under the Facebook parent company. However, in the last few months, they have begun to integrate.
“The time is up. There have been too many scandals, there have been too many problems, and now it’s up to the FTC and Congress to say ‘enough is enough,’” Hughes said.