Facebook is a 'monopoly' and needs to be broken up, co-founder Chris Hughes says

The time has come to break up Facebook, according to Chris Hughes, one of the social media behemoth's founders.

In a New York Times opinion article, Hughes writes that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a "good, kind person" but has allowed a relentless focus on growth to crush competitors and "sacrifice security and civility for clicks."

"I'm disappointed in myself and the early Facebook team for not thinking more about how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture, influence elections and empower nationalist leaders," Hughes writes. "And I'm worried that Mark has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them."

Hughes writes that Facebook is a monopoly and should be forced to spin off WhatsApp and Instagram. He says future acquisitions should be banned for several years. He called on the federal government to "hold Mark accountable."

"For too long, lawmakers have marveled at Facebook's explosive growth and overlooked their responsibility to ensure that Americans are protected and markets are competitive," Hughes writes. "Any day now, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to impose a $5 billion fine on the company, but that is not enough…"

Hughes roomed with Zuckerberg at Harvard and left Facebook in 2007 to campaign for Barack Obama.

Hughes liquidated his Facebook shares in 2012, the year he bought and became publisher of The New Republic. (He sold TNR in 2016.) He remains listed on Facebook's "Founder Bios" page.

In 2017, Forbes estimated his net worth at more than $400 million.

He is the co-founder of the Economic Security Project, a nonprofit "committed to advancing the debate on unconditional cash and basic income in the United States," according to its website.

Last year, Hughes published a book, called "Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn," advocating a universal basic income.

Read the full essay here.

With The Associated Press