Chris Hughes has argued that the platform is an existential threat to the world and needs to be fragmented
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes made his millions when the social networking giant went public, but after that he has taken a strong advocacy point and even during a visit to India almost eight years ago, warned of the dangers of the social media platform. Now in an opinion piece in The New York Times, titled “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook”, he lays out in plain detail why the social media behemoth should be fragmented. In essence, he says, it is a clear and present danger to modern life and a threat to democracies. It is a cause taken up by US Senator from California and contender for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 US presidential election, Kamala Harris as well, who ironically represents the San Francisco Bay Area where Facebook is based. Other nations, too, particularly in Europe, have tried to look at ways to curb the social media giant.
But this takes us back almost 15 years when the world was railing against the massive power of another American technology giant, Microsoft. But look at where it is today. And while Microsoft is a pale shadow of the consumer company it once was, it remains a technology icon and a vital piece of the software puzzle. Breaking up Facebook may be as impossible to achieve as breaking up Microsoft was. However, there is little doubt that it does need to be reined in. It has played havoc with the media and has become a tool of fake news and promoting hate. Mark Zuckerberg might have a baby face but his company is doing more harm to humanity than helping it, and there needs to be a proper global consultation on how to combat social media firms and their viral manner of spreading news. Companies like Facebook and Twitter cannot use the fact that they are technology companies as an excuse to prevent being regulated like media companies, considering that they have played havoc with the rules and regulations of fairplay and objectivity. There is no doubt that technology has democratised the media, making it more accessible and able to demolish constructed narratives but it has also allowed hateful agenda to spread very fast with disastrous consequences. India should also sign up with other democracies and look to read the rulebook to Facebook.