The recent comments from the co-founder of Facebook calling for the dismantling of the firm made the headlines and Mark Zuckerberg decided to respond.
In about fifteen years, Facebook has become a sprawling social network, used by a third of the world’s population. Since the beginning of its success, voices are rising to denounce a crushing monopoly, which endangers the privacy of its users. A monopoly is even more problematic as the company has meticulously bought some competitors like WhatsApp and Instagram and appears almost inevitable for the consumer.
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Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook, recently created the controversy by publishing an oppressive tribune in the New York Times, in which he calls Zuckerberg to dismantle his firm. Despite the fortune that he has brought back, he claims to have realized the dangers of the network since the 2016 presidential election and the Cambridge Analytica case. He says he is in favor of canceling the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp “in a short time” so that they remain separate from Facebook. An idea that seduces more and more American elected officials, who are increasingly suspicious of the immense power of the GAFA.
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“Mark is a nice man, a good person […] But he has created a leviathan that eliminates the entrepreneurial spirit and restricts consumer choice. […] I am angry that his obsession with growth has led him to sacrifice security and public affairs for a few clicks. I am disappointed with myself and Facebook’s historical team for not thinking about how its algorithms would change our culture, influence our elections, and give more power to populist leaders. “
Declarations that have the effect of a bomb, to which the bricks of the firm have to respond. Interviewed on France Info, Zuckerberg stepped in to defend his company, recalling that he now invested heavily in solutions to fight against democratic interference, but also the moderation of inappropriate content, a real scourge of social networks.
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“If you really feel concerned about democracy, then you want a company like ours, which invests billions of dollars a year to create advanced tools to combat interference in elections. […] Dismantling Facebook is not a solution »
Nick Clegg, the firm’s public affairs director, also decided to meet Hughes in the New York Times. He explains that Facebook is not a messaging leader in some markets, such as China, Japan and even the United States, or it is facing companies like iMessage, Skype, or WeChat. Same thing for the video against the giant YouTube or companies like Snapchat. One way to temper the qualification of abuse of dominance.
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Clegg is careful not to mention the term “monopoly” and prefers to use the term “success”. Predictably, it highlights the revolution induced by Facebook rather than the wrongs it is accused of. However, it specifies that the company is actively committed to not know the same excesses as in the past.
“Success should not be penalized. Our success has enabled billions of people around the world to access new ways to communicate with each other. “
Zuckerberg was able to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron on issues related to moderation. The Head of State had indeed pledged to fight online hatred and the sharing of violent and / or terrorist content.