The last time I saw Mark Zuckerberg was in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. We met at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., office and drove to his house, in a quiet, leafy neighborhood. We spent an hour or two together while his toddler daughter cruised around. We talked politics mostly, a little about Facebook, a bit about our families. When the shadows grew long, I had to head out. I hugged his wife, Priscilla, and said goodbye to Mark.
Since then, Mark’s personal reputation and the reputation of Facebook have taken a nose-dive. The company’s mistakes — the sloppy privacy practices that dropped tens of millions of users’ data into a political consulting firm’s lap; the slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news; and the unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention — dominate the headlines. It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade. But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility.
Mark is still the same person I watched hug his parents as they left our dorm’s common room at the beginning of our sophomore year. He is the same person who procrastinated studying for tests, fell in love with his future wife while in line for the bathroom at a party and slept on a mattress on the floor in a small apartment years after he could have afforded much more. In other words, he’s human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic.
Chris Hughes Essay on Breakup Draws an Objection From Facebook
Facebook pushed back Thursday after Chris Hughes, a billionaire co-founder of the company, argued in a New York Times Op-Ed essay that the company should be broken up and regulated.
“Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communication, wrote in a statement. “But you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company.”
Facebook cofounder calls for company to break up over 'unprecedented' power
A cofounder of Facebook has called for the government to break up the company, warning that Mark Zuckerberg’s power is “unprecedented and un-American”.
Chris Hughes, who helped established Facebook after meeting Zuckerberg at Harvard, wrote in the New York Times that Facebook’s acquisition of rival platforms had given Zuckerberg unparalleled power over speech and that, from the early days of Facebook, Zuckerberg had touted “domination” as an ultimate goal.