Even by its own standards, Facebook (now rebranded as Meta) had a brutal 2021. The social media giant was rocked with controversies including revelations from an internal whistleblower who revealed many of the company’s ugliest practices. That’s why, this week, several tech and privacy experts weighed in to debate how Facebook can be fixed moving forward — with solutions including regulating it, fixing it from within, opening it up to researchers, and even breaking it up entirely.
Because of Facebook’s size and dominance, many solutions to its problems can feel small. That’s why an increasingly large number of experts are calling for the company to be dismantled. Much of that stance stems from a sense that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has too much power over the market.
“He’s operating like a sovereign,” said Matt Stoller, research director at the American Economic Liberties Project. “And that’s what a monopolist is. Somebody who has control, governing power over a market.”
Once Facebook began to absorb its competitors, Stoller continued, “they just started surveilling and doing anything that they wanted, and there was really no way around it.”
Breaking up Facebook sounds far-fetched, but the fact that so many leading experts and lawmakers have embraced the idea suggests it could actually be possible. At least one thing is clear: the company won’t operate with the same impunity moving forward that it has enjoyed for so many years.
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