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Facebook needs to be broken up, co-founder Chris Hughes says – CNET

Chris Hughes is calling for a change at Facebook.

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Despite Facebook's latest promises of better privacy, co-founder Chris Hughes says that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has too much power and that the company is a monopoly.

On Thursday, Hughes published an op-ed in The New York Times saying that Facebook needs to be broken up. Hughes said he's concerned that Zuckerberg has surrounded himself with a team that doesn't challenge him and that the government must hold him accountable. Along with overseeing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, Zuckerberg controls 60% of voting shares on Facebook's board, according to Hughes.

"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," Hughes said in the op-ed.

Hughes said the Federal Trade Commission made a mistake in letting Facebook acquire Instagram and WhatsApp -- and now time is running out to easily fix that.

"Until recently, WhatsApp and Instagram were administered as independent platforms inside the parent company, so that should make the process easier. But time is of the essence: Facebook is working quickly to integrate the three, which would make it harder for the FTC to split them up."

Even with a breakup, Hughes said Facebook would still be profitable.

Breaking up Facebook isn't even enough, according to Hughes, who left Facebook in 2007. The co-founder said a new agency is needed to ensure that tech companies protect privacy and to create guidelines for acceptable speech on social media. Hughes said even if a breakup isn't successful, pushing for one would at least bring more oversight.

"I take responsibility for not sounding the alarm earlier," he said.  

Facebook didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

Facebook needs to be broken up, co-founder Chris Hughes says     - CNET

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