Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes, has accused CEO Mark Zuckerberg of turning the social network into an innovation-suffocating monopoly.
In a bombshell New York Times opinion piece, Mr Hughes called Mr 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”.
Mr Hughes shared a room with Mr Zuckerberg at Harvard University in the US and left Facebook in 2007 to campaign for Barack Obama.
Mr Hughes, whose net worth is more than $US400 million, said he no longer has any ownership in Facebook or any other social media company.
“I feel a sense of anger and responsibility,” he wrote, lamenting the company’s “slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news.”
Facebook has been under fire for an ever-expanding list of privacy and security lapses and for endangering democracy by failing to effectively combat the proliferation of misinformation and hate speech by extremist groups.
Facebook’s chief spokesman, Nick Clegg, responded to Mr Hughes’ criticisms in a statement.
“You don’t enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company,” he said.
“Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for.”
Mr Zuckerberg has been vague, however, on exactly what kind of regulation he favours.
Critics, including Mr Hughes, believe Facebook has acquired too much power to continue intact.
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