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Break up Facebook, says company’s co-founder

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One of the co-founders of Facebook called on Thursday for the social media behemoth to be broken up, warning that the company’s head, Mark Zuckerberg, had become far too powerful.

“It’s time to break up Facebook,” said Chris Hughes, who along with Zuckerberg founded the online network in their dorm room while both were students at Harvard University in 2004.

In an editorial published in The New York Times, Hughes said that Zuckerberg’s “focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” and warned that his global influence had become “staggering.”

Zuckerberg not only controls Facebook but also the widely used Instagram and WhatsApp platforms, and Hughes said that Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than a check on the chief executive’s power.

“Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability,” said vice president of global affairs and communications Nick Clegg.

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“But you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company.”

Clegg, a British former deputy prime minister, reasoned that carefully crafted regulation of the internet is the way to hold technology companies accountable, and noted that Zuckerberg has been advocating for just that.

Facebook and its family of services have many competitors, and can find corporate efficiencies when it comes to data centers, talent and other resources that can work on its various offerings, Clegg said.

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Hughes, who quit Facebook more than a decade ago, was pictured in the newspaper together with Zuckerberg when both were fresh-faced students launching Facebook as a campus networking tool.

He accused Facebook of acquiring or copying all of its competitors to achieve dominance in the social media field, meaning that investors were reluctant to back any rivals because they know they cannot compete for long.

Zuckerberg “has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice,” wrote Hughes, who is now a member of the Economic Security Project, which is pushing for a universal basic income in the United States.

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After buying up its main competitors Instagram, where people can publish photos, and WhatsApp, a secure messaging service, Facebook now has 2.7 billion monthly users across its platforms and made a first quarter profit of $2.43 billion this year.

– ‘Break up Facebook’s monopoly’ –

“The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech. There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people,” said Hughes.

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The company has been rocked by a series of scandals recently, including allowing its users’ data to be harvested by research companies and its slow response to Russia using Facebook as a means to spread disinformation during the 2016 US election campaign.

The company is reportedly expecting to face a fine of $5 billion. It has also been investing heavily in staff and artificial intelligence to fight misinformation and other abuses at its platform.

“The American government needs to do two things: break up Facebook’s monopoly and regulate the company to make it more accountable to the American people,” Hughes said, urging the government to break away Instagram and WhatsApp and prevent new acquisitions for several years.

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“Even after a breakup, Facebook would be a hugely profitable business with billions to invest in new technologies — and a more competitive market would only encourage those investments,” he said.

Hughes said the break-up, under existing anti-trust laws, would allow better privacy protections for social media users and would cost US authorities almost nothing.

Hughes said that he remained friends with Zuckerberg, noting that “he’s human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic.”


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Cop says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot following Trump’s racist targeting of The Squad

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Following racist attacks on members of The Squad by President Donald Trump and his supporters, a police officer in Louisiana reportedly said that one of the congresswomen of color should be shot.

Trump has been lashing out at the four first-term congresswomen, who include Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

"A Gretna police officer posted a comment on his Facebook page this past week calling U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a 'vile idiot' who 'needs a round, and I don't mean the kind she used to serve,'" NOLA reported Saturday.

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Internet piles on ABC reporter for lavishing praise on Trump for allowing press to ask questions

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ABC News reporter Kyra Phillips on Saturday heaped praise on President Donald Trump for his treatment of the press.

Despite the White House no longer holding daily press briefings, Phillips praised the "access" she receives from the administration.

"No matter what your politics are, I have to say that I appreciate the access ?Trump? gives us on a regular basis and the ability to ask any question," she said.

She tagged Stephanie Grisham in her tweet, who is Trump's latest press secretary. She also tagged her husband, John Roberts, who does not work in the White House, but works for Fox News.

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‘Trump wants to start a race war’: Ex-advisor alleges his campaign planned ‘Send her Back’ chants

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President Donald Trump is attempting to start a race war in America, a long-time advisor declared on MSNBC on Saturday evening.

Omarosa Manigault Newman was interviewed by Donny Deutsch on "Saturday Night Politics."

"You said could it happen here? It is happening here," Newman told Deutsch.

"As a woman of color watching him attack those four women, it made it very clear that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy," she said.

"And everyone has been kind of tiptoeing what this actually is. Donald Trump wants to start a race war in this country and it started at that rally — it started with the tweets," she said.

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