Should Facebook be broken up? | The Tylt

Should Facebook be broken up?

According to some of its critics, Facebook needs to be broken up because it's a monopoly, it engages in anticompetitive behavior and it ultimately stifles competition and innovation in the tech industry. Worse than that, it has far too much control over how speech is conducted on the internet—internal critics have expressed their concern over the damage Facebook has done to society. In their words, "Facebook is hurting people at scale."

Facebook and its supporters say that it competes with both other large American tech companies, and Chinese tech companies, which are quickly growing to match American capabilities and size. Facebook has led major innovation and created wealth for the United States—in their eyes, they have enabled small businesses to reach more people. Their mission is to connect people and that's what they are doing. 

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The argument for breaking up big tech companies like Facebook is that there is no real choice for consumers. There is no real alternative to Facebook's social network platform, Google's search engine, or Amazon's online retail. Specifically looking at Facebook, it also engages in anticompetitive behavior where they either outright purchase competitors, copy features, otherwise stack the deck against any possible competition. 

This is not a new problem for the United States. When this has happened in the past, the government took steps to ensure competition. It's better for small businesses, innovation and for the average person. Elizabeth Warren makes the case for it here:

America has a long tradition of breaking up companies when they have become too big and dominant — even if they are generally providing good service at a reasonable price.
A century ago, in the Gilded Age, waves of mergers led to the creation of some of the biggest companies in American history — from Standard Oil and JPMorgan to the railroads and AT&T. In response to the rise of these “trusts,” Republican and Democratic reformers pushed for antitrust laws to break up these conglomerations of power to ensure competition.
But where the value of the company came from its network, reformers recognized that ownership of a network and participating on the network caused a conflict of interest. Instead of nationalizing these industries — as other countries did — Americans in the Progressive Era decided to ensure that these networks would not abuse their power by charging higher prices, offering worse quality, reducing innovation, and favoring some over others. We required a structural separation between the network and other businesses, and also demanded that the network offer fair and non-discriminatory service.
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Facebook argues it is ultimately a positive force in the world. Its supporters point to the wealth and jobs it has created during its meteoric rise. Its innovations are keeping America competitive in the global market. Outside of the economic argument, some supporters argue companies like Facebook and Google should not be broken up because they need that level of resources to effectively operate at that level . A smaller company would not be able to respond to things like state-sponsored hacking and election interference, or deploy the resources necessary to push innovation in fields like artificial intelligence. We need big companies to stay competitive.

Here's how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the case when he gave testimony before Congress:

"Facebook stands for a set of basic principles" including "keeping people safe, upholding democratic traditions like freedom of expression," he said. Zuckerberg added that these "are fundamental values for most of us, but not for everyone in the world, not for every company we compete with or the countries they represent."
"If you look at where the top technology came from a decade ago, the vast majority were American. Today, almost half are Chinese," Zuckerberg said.
#WeNeedFacebook
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should Facebook be broken up?
A festive crown for the winner
#BreakUpFacebook
#WeNeedFacebook