Bay Area experts weigh in on Facebook co-founder's opinion to break up company

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Cracking down on Facebook. Co-founder Chris Hughes made his case in an op-ed in Thursday's New York Times calling for the Federal government to break up the company that he helped create with his former college roommate, Mark Zuckerberg.

This comes as Facebook prepares to merge the technology behind its three messaging platforms: Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

"Large unregulated companies are not necessarily considering the downstream effects of some of the decisions they're making today," said Ann Skeet, Senior Director at Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

"Norms are shifting in our society about how we're going to define success, and biggest isn't always best," she said. "And making the most money isn't the only thing we need to be thinking about."

RELATED: Facebook co-founder calls for social media company to be broken up

South Bay Congressman Ro Khanna appeared on ABC7's Midday Live on Thursday saying our focus on innovation must be balanced with a commitment to consumer privacy and promoting competition.

"My view is that we can't just reflexively be breaking companies up," he said. "What we need to look at is how do we prevent anti-competitive platform privilege, which means companies shouldn't be able to privilege their own products."

In response to the op-ed Facebook executive Nick Clegg said in part:

"You don't enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company. Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet."

RELATED: Zuckerberg promises 'complete overhaul' of Facebook geared towards user privacy at F8

Many say regulation can serve as a check on Zuckerberg's power.

"We need social media that are careful about fake news. We need social media that succeed because they're well-run companies, and not just because they have dominant market share," said Robert Chapman Wood from the San Jose State University's Lucas College of Business.

As founder, CEO, and chairman of the board, Zuckerberg currently controls 60-percent of the company's voting shares.
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