Chris Hughes, one of Facebook's founders and earliest employees, penned a lengthy op-ed in the New York Times arguing that Facebook CEO and chairman Mark Zuckerberg has far too much power, and that the government must hold him accountable for the company's misdeeds. In addition to serving as CEO and chairman, Zuckberberg also controls the majority of voting shares at Facebook -- leaving few avenues for challenging his decisions.
Hughes argued that the fine that Facebook is currently negotiating with the FTC, which could total $5 billion or more and include the installation of a new "privacy committee" at the company, isn't enough. Instead, Hughes said Facebook should be treated as a powerful monopoly given its 80% market share of social networking globally and penchant for copying or buying up smaller competitors.
In a statement, Facebook's head of global affairs Nick Clegg countered that a breakup isn't the right way to place checks on Facebook.
"Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don't enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company. Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet," Clegg wrote. "That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for. Indeed, he is meeting Government leaders this week to further that work."
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg has said that Facebook will embrace a more "privacy-focused" approach to its various apps, which include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp and have billions of users collectively.
Facebook shares were down 0.2% to $189.20 on Thursday and are up 39.7% year to date.