Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, works with authorities to break up the company. Hughes is said to have visited the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Hughes is working with two major antitrust academics. These are Scott Hempill from New York University and Tim Wu from Colombia University, writes The New York Times. Wu and Hempill argue to the newspaper that during meetings with the Ministry of Justice, the FTC and the attorney-general, the three have submitted a possible competition case against Facebook.

In their presentation, the three argue that Facebook has made several defensive acquisitions in recent years in order to maintain its dominant position in the social media market. It bought up rivals, allowing advertisers to pay higher prices and giving users a worse experience.

Not surprisingly

Although there are few co-founders who speak out so emphatically against Facebook, it is not surprising that Hughes cooperates with authorities. In May, Hughes wrote another opinion piece in The New York Times, in which he argued in favour of breaking up the company. According to Hughes, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has far too much power.

Facebook dominates social media so much that it has no market-based accountability, said Hughes then. That means that every time Facebook makes a mistake, we repeat an exhausting pattern: we get angry, get disappointed and eventually resign.

According to Hughes, the takeovers of Instagram and WhatsApp in particular meant that the company was given a real monopoly. The FTC’s biggest mistake was to allow Facebook to take over Instagram and WhatsApp, so, according to Hughes, the two departments need to be separated from Facebook again.

Investigations

Last week, the social media announced that the FTC has started a new investigation into the company. This is a competition investigation, which, in addition to the large-scale competition investigation by the Ministry of Justice, covers all the major tech companies.

Last Thursday, a number of Attorneys General of American states met with the Justice Department to discuss competition in the industry. It is not clear exactly what role Hughes played in all this.

Hempill and Wu don’t want to talk to The New York Times about Hughes’ interference either. The two only confirm that the former top man was present at the presentations. He has been an important contributor to thinking about these problems, says Hempill.

Facebook and Hughes themselves refused to respond.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.