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CMSC 495 UMGC Its Time to Break Up Facebook Discussion Response

Respond to Andrew:

For this discussion, I have chosen the following article, “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook” written by Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, an opinion piece in the New York Times. This article particularly addresses some of the challenges highlighted by others in this discussion with Facebook, particularly the Cambridge Analytica scandal, as well as the general prevalence of misinformation circling around on Facebook, but not just those things.

The article also discusses the outsized market share in that Facebook has in the social media space, buying up competitors left and right, and in the eyes of Chris Hughes, monopolizing the market to a degree which is stifling competition and in a sense, making it impossible to hold Facebook accountable. The United States, Hughes points out, has a along history of breaking up anti-consumer monopolies, and in these cases, Hughes is essentially making the argument that allowing one company like Facebook to grow as large as it has ultimately will have negative impacts on society which are impossible for us to fully understand. “Yellow journalism” is something which is often taught as a part of the story leading up to the Spanish-American war, but Facebook (and subsidiaries) has far more control over the media and shopping that most Americans do on a daily basis than any set of newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst.

Personally, I find myself inclined to agree. We as a society want to encourage innovation because it brings us new things, but we don’t want a private company like Facebook to be able to be in such a powerful position as to potentially be able to shift political events, or the entire culture of the country as a whole. Monopolies are almost never a good thing, especially when they’re not regulated, and private institutions tend to struggle to do the right thing when shareholders are involved.

The article:


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