It is Not Time to Break Up Facebook
Facebook is all about timing, and hopefully, leadership.
Facebook will centralize encrypted chat and walled garden communities in the next phase of its evolution. Mark Zuckerberg should be removed as CEO just as Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick was.
Facebook should be regulated, there’s a process here to follow. Breaking up Facebook into separate companies for Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook though isn’t the answer. Breaking up Amazon and AWS, now that actually makes sense, even from a financial perspective.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes wrote in a New York Times op-ed that regulators must check CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s power. Nobody loves this topic more than me, and I agree with that statement. I recently wrote something on it regarding shareholders. It’s a bit distressing, to anyone who cares and realizes what it means, just how centralized the internet has become.
The future was supposed to be more decentralized. However Facebook’s stablecoin could replace Paypal and threaten the idea of “crypto” itself. Facebook even banned Crypto Ads while they were developing the product. Facebook needs regulation and a new CEO, it doesn’t need to be broken up per se.
It needs to hit the reset button on more than just privacy, on leadership and that’s the real elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about. It’s easier to say Facebook needs to be broken up, as if attacking our best firms will help us in the years ahead against a rising China. With all due respect to Warren and Hughes, Facebook cannot manage itself, so these firms need to be regulated by independent bodies. The board needs an independently chosen chair.
Hughes said Zuckerberg has “unilateral control over speech.” The exodus of founders and executives proves it. Facebook is not a boys’ club you want to mess with, if you want to keep that $200,000 job. These are Mark’s feudal lords and there’s really no doubt about how that works. This isn’t like Bezos and his lieutenants. These people around him are pretty replaceable besides Sheryl Sandburg.
Hughes said regulators must step in immediately in order to break up Facebook before it integrates its messaging services and makes it more difficult to do so. He has a point here. Facebook could be building an architecture that could haunt humanity for many decades to come, with its 2 billion sticky users. Fines are not the answer, more aggressive regulation is.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes issued a forceful call for regulators to break up the company he helped build in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday May 9th, 2019. Should we believe Warren and Hughes? Who will we actually listen to? It doesn’t matter since Zuckerberg has Facebook on “lockdown” mode. Silicon Valley is an aristocracy. There’s no other way to put it, this isn’t democracy.
Facebook now has more power than a private sector entity is due. It’s an advertising media company that masquerades as a social media platform with barely any consequences. The internet is not a healthy place in 2019. Apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and even YouTube and TikTok are unable even to moderate their content properly, while profiting heavily from the data and content users create. That’s just wrong and, among others, Mark Zuckerberg should be held criminally liable. Nothing else makes sense.
Several CEOs and founders in this day and age have far too much unchecked power, aided by majority voting stakes in their companies. This leads to incredible abuses of power, no matter how “good” their intentions are. They are biased and often lead their product and business down roads that hurt more than they help. Silicon Valley doesn’t just contribute convenience. We know this by now as consumers and business folk.
Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability, but Facebook doesn’t have a history of being accountable. Facebook’s success isn’t in innovation or helping humanity, it’s purely in advertising. Facebook isn’t even facing half the legal issues it should be facing. Its leadership has consistently shown a disregard for changing to better the world. Founders aren’t objective about their products, they are incapable of thinking about the public good.
However if we don’t learn to regulate firms, products and media companies, what will become of the internet? If we don’t hold leaders accountable for damages to society, they will keep disregarding the pain they have caused. Facebook doesn’t need to die, it just needs a fresh person at its head. It needs someone who actually cares about its impact on people.