Thursday 9 May 2019 5:05 pm

Facebook co-founder joins chorus of voices to break up the company

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has echoed calls to break up the social media giant amid a rise in anti-trust and data privacy concerns surrounding big tech.

Hughes, a former roommate of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, called his power "unprecedented and un-American" in an opinion piece for the New York Times.

"We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be," he added.

Read more: Facebook ditches blue banner in privacy-focused redesign

His comments follow those of US senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who vowed to break up the FAANGs – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and Netflix – if elected next year to promote competition in the tech sector.

Facebook's network of apps, which includes Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger, has more than 2bn users worldwide.

Read more: Facebook braces for $5bn hit after privacy scandals

"Today’s big tech companies have too much power—over our economy, our society, & our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private info for profit, hurt small businesses & stifled innovation. It's time to #BreakUpBigTech," Warren said on Twitter today.

Hughes said he felt "a sense of anger and responsibility" that Facebook has been at the centre of a string of data scandals and been slow to respond to threats of fake news, election meddling and violent rhetoric on its platform.

"Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the break up of a successful American company," Facebook spokesman and former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said in a statement.

"Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for."