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"Facebook has too much power over our lives and democracy. It's time for us to take that power back," argues a new coalition which is launching an online and ad-driven campaign as it calls for the FTC to break up the social media giant's online empire. (Image: Freedom From Facebook)

To Curb 'Scary Amount of Power,' New Campaign Urges FTC to Break Up Facebook

The social media giant—which also owns and operates the popular WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram platforms—has become too powerful and must be confronted.

Jon Queally

"It's time to make Facebook safe for democracy."

"Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have amassed a scary amount of power... It's time for us to take that power back."—Freedom From Facebook

That's the central demand behind the new Freedom From Facebook campaign, a joint project of several progressive advocacy groups who say the social media giant—which also owns and operates the popular WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram platforms—has become too powerful and must be confronted.

"Facebook has too much power over our lives and democracy. It's time for us to take that power back," argues the coalition, which includes: Citizens Against Monopoly, Content Creators Coalition, Demand Progress, Jewish Voice for Peace, MoveOn.org, Mpower Change, Sum of Us, and the Open Markets Institute.

The group's want to see Facebook broken up into smaller parts and are launching a six-figure ad buy on Monday to call on the Federal Trade Commission to use its anti-monopoly authority to force the issue. As Axios reported on Sunday evening, however, none of the FTC's most recently appointed commissioners "have gone as far as to say that any of the giants of Silicon Valley, including Facebook, should be broken up."

According to the Freedom From Facebook website:

Most of us use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. They're important ways for us to communicate and connect with each other.

But Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have amassed a scary amount of power. Facebook unilaterally decides the news that billions of people around the world see every day. It buys up or bankrupts potential competitors to protect its monopoly, killing innovation and choice. It tracks us almost everywhere we go on the web and, through our smartphones, even where we go in the real world. It uses this intimate data hoard to figure out how to addict us and our children to its services. And then Facebook serves up everything about us to its true customers—virtually anyone willing to pay for the ability to convince us to buy, do, or believe something.

And it is spending millions on corporate lobbyists, academics, and think tanks to ensure no one gets in their way.

Enough.

The five members of the Federal Trade Commission, which is the part of our government tasked with overseeing Facebook, can make Facebook safe for our democracy by breaking it up, giving us the freedom to communicate across networks, and protecting our privacy.

Together, we will make sure that they do.

The site also links to a "How-To Guide to Reduce Corporate and Political Surveillance on Facebook" and a petition people can sign to back the campaign.


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