Facebook has been plagued by privacy and data scandals over the past year-plus, leading to increased scrutiny from lawmakers and privacy advocates alike. This week, a coalition of these organizations went well beyond mere criticism and called for Facebook to be broken up by the Federal Trade Commission.
According to the group, called Freedom from Facebook, the social media giant has likely violated a 2011 consent agreement it signed with the FTC. That required the company to get a user’s sign-off before providing their data to a third party. But beyond that, Freedom from Facebook says it’s high time that users reclaimed control over their privacy and information.
“Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have amassed a scary amount of power,” the group’s website reads. “It tracks us almost everywhere we go on the web and, through our smartphones, even where we go in the real world… And then Facebook serves up everything about us to its true customers — virtually anyone willing to pay for the ability to convince us to buy, do, or believe something.”
The coalition is calling for Messenger and Facebook-owned products like WhatsApp and Instagram to be spun off and separated from Facebook proper. It’s also calling for strict privacy rules to be imposed on all of them. Time will tell if this gains any traction, but the more pressure put on Facebook like this, the more the company will have to listen and improve.