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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Rather than harm either the US economy or consumers, breaking up social media giant Facebook as its co-founder has suggested would provide important benefits, according to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn).
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes published an opinion article which argues the company has now become too unwieldy and intrusive. Hughes left Facebook in 2007.
The company has come under particularly scathing criticism in recent years for the role its ubiquitous platform played in allowing Russian agents to disrupt and meddle in the 2016 election.
Hughes called Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s power “unprecedented and un-American” and said his co-founder’s focus on growth “led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks.”
But breaking up Facebook would bring important gains, said Blumenthal, who sits on the key Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Communications Technology, Innovation, and the Internet subcommittee.
“There is no political risk in protecting consumer privacy. There is only political gain. But that’s not the reason to do it. It’s fundamental to our democracy that consumers be protected against misuse of their data information without their consent,” Blumenthal said. “And there’s only potential approval for consumers in innovation and greater competition which gives them more choice and protection. So, we’re not talking about attacking prosperity or jobs, in fact, increase jobs and prosperity in more competition and really Facebook here is the only company that we’re talking about.”