Facebook responds to co-founder in NYT op-ed: Breakup won't solve problems

Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications on Saturday penned a rebuttal op-ed after the social media platform’s co-founder called for the company to be dismantled.

Nick Clegg wrote in The New York Times that “big in itself isn’t bad” and said that “success should not be penalized.” 

“Facebook shouldn’t be broken up — but it does need to be held to account. Anyone worried about the challenges we face in an online world should look at getting the rules of the internet right, not dismantling successful American companies,” Clegg wrote. 

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The company’s response comes days after a scathing op-ed from Chris Hughes, a former Harvard student who co-founded Facebook with CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergCo-founder’s call to break up Facebook energizes its critics Facebook responds to co-founder in NYT op-ed: Breakup won’t solve problems Hillicon Valley: Instagram cracks down on anti-vaccine tags | Facebook co-founder on fallout from call to break up company | House Dems reintroduce election security bill | Lawmakers offer bill requiring cyber, IT training for House MORE in 2004.

Hughes wrote that Facebook was not being held accountable for privacy concerns and election interference on the platform. He also called Zuckerberg’s influence “unprecedented and un-American” and called on lawmakers to protect citizens from monopolies.

Clegg wrote that Hughes was right that companies should be held accountable for their actions.

“But the challenges he alludes to, including election interference and privacy safeguards, won’t evaporate by breaking up Facebook or any other big tech company,” Clegg wrote. “Fixing these problems requires significant resources — and strong new rules.”

Clegg wrote that Hughes misunderstood antitrust laws, claiming that his arguments about Facebook being a monopoly hold “dangerous implications for the American technology sector, the strongest pillar of the economy.”

The platform faces competition for photo and video sharing from YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok, Clegg wrote.

“In messaging, we’re not even the leader in the top three markets — China, Japan and, by our estimate, the United States — where we compete with Apple’s iMessage, WeChat, Line and Microsoft’s Skype,” he continued.

Hughes, who left the company in 2007, said his friendship with Zuckerberg is “probably” over after his fierce rebuke.

“I really don’t know if we’re gonna be friends,” Hughes told CBS. “Probably not, but there are some friendships where you have disagreements, and big ones, and you still stay friends.”

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