The case for breaking up Facebook

From an essay in Technology Review:

Monopoly power is problematic even for companies that just make a lot of money selling widgets: it allows them to exert undue influence on regulators and to rip off consumers. But it’s particularly worrisome for a company like Facebook, whose product is information.

This is why it should be broken up. This wouldn’t answer every difficult question that Facebook’s existence raises. It isn’t easy to figure out how to protect free speech while limiting hate speech and deliberate misinformation campaigns, for example. But breaking up Facebook would provide space to come up with solutions that make sense to society as a whole, rather than to Zuckerberg and Facebook’s other shareholders.

The problem, of course, is that Facebook’s management (which reflects the biases and politics of Mark Zuckerberg), gets to decide which speech should be “free”, and which should be classified as “hate speech”.

The problem isn’t the true hate speech, but the speech that exists at the margins of polite conversation.

Facebook is not apolitical. Facebook is a projection of Mark Zuckerberg’s politics.

And that’s why it’s a cause for serious concern, given its near monopoly power.