Clegg responds to breakup calls from Facebook co-founder
In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, one of Facebook’s co-founders referred to the company as a monopoly and claimed Mark Zuckerberg has “too much power” over it. Now, you may be scratching your head at the mention of a Facebook co-founder – and in a way, that’s entirely the point. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO and driving force, has been at the helm so completely, and for so long, that it’s easy to forget he didn’t build the platform all on his own. But, according to his old Facebook collaborator Chris Hughes, that’s a problem. Unsurprisingly, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, former British deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, disagrees.
Facebook’s share price has appreciated by 39% so far this year
Source: Yahoo Finance
In his May 9 op-ed, Hughes said that Facebook had become a monopoly, and it should never have been allowed Instagram and WhatsApp. Expanding on the social media platform’s problems, he told CNN on Sunday: “Zuckerberg has too much power – near unilateral power. We all make mistakes, but I think in his case it is different because there is no accountability for those mistakes. Mark’s the CEO, there is a board but because he owns 60 percent of the voting shares, he’s not accountable really to that board. It works more like a board of advisers than anything else.”
Unsurprisingly, Nick Clegg disagrees. In a Saturday reply to Hughes (also published in the New York Times), he wrote: “While we operate under more regulation now than at any point in the history of the company, we believe more should be done.” He summarised Hughes’ position: “Hughes maintains that lawmakers merely marvel at Facebook’s explosive growth and have overlooked their own responsibility to protect the public through more competition,” concluding that he is mistaken about the “central purpose” of antitrust legislation.
“It is hard to sustain the claim that Facebook is a monopoly,” he said, when Facebook only controls around 20% of the online ad market – it’s primary revenue generator. He added that laws are “not meant to punish a company because people disagree with its management,” and concluded “Anyone worried about the challenges we face in an online world should look at getting the rules of the internet right, not dismantling successful American companies.”
Dominion holds Facebook in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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