Fb VP Nick Clegg responds to co-founder Hughes’ name for breakup


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“Large in itself is not dangerous,” says Fb VP Nick Clegg.

James Martin/CNET

Fb should not be damaged up; as a substitute it ought to be topic to strong new rules. That is how the world’s largest social community is responding to Fb co-founder Chris Hughes’ name for the corporate to be pulled aside.

Hughes made his case Thursday in a entrance web page editorial in The New York Occasions, saying that Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg has an excessive amount of energy and that the corporate has turn out to be a monopoly.

Now the social community’s VP for world affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, has responded together with his personal op-ed within the Occasions.

“Mr. Hughes is true that firms ought to be held accountable for his or her actions,” Clegg says within the Saturday editorial. “However the challenges he alludes to, together with election interference and privateness safeguards, will not evaporate by breaking apart Fb or another huge tech firm. Fixing these issues requires vital assets — and robust new guidelines.”

The back-and-forth opinion items come as Fb is being referred to as out by critics for not doing sufficient to fight election meddling, misinformation and hate speech. The corporate’s huge energy, critics argue, must be saved in examine.

The social community has additionally been attacked by those that say the corporate merely scooped up its competitors, slightly than innovating to satisfy the challenges posed by rivals. Fb’s fast development has been fueled by acquisitions, together with its purchases of photo-sharing website Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp, critics say.

Clegg says Fb has been pushing for larger oversight of social media and different tech firms. He notes Zuckerberg’s journey to France this week to talk with the federal government about potential laws, and he brings up the identical speaking factors talked about by Zuckerberg in a Washington Publish editorial on the finish of March.

In that piece, Zuckerberg referred to as for “a extra lively position for governments and regulators” and targeted on policing dangerous content material, defending election integrity, making certain knowledge privateness, and permitting shoppers to simply transfer their knowledge from one service to a different.

Clegg says critics of Fb’s dimension have it improper. Although the corporate is huge, he says, it is made up of smaller items, every of which face loads of competitors. Rivals in photograph and video-sharing, as an example, embrace Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, he says.

“Globally, the context during which social media should be understood, China alone has a number of giant social media firms, together with powerhouses like Tencent and Sina,” Clegg writes. “It can appear perverse to individuals in Europe, and definitely in China, to see American policymakers speaking about dismantling one among America’s largest world gamers.”

Clegg additionally says that as a result of Fb is huge, it might put a variety of assets into policing its varied platforms. And he says that antitrust legal guidelines aren’t about punishing administration; they’re about defending shoppers by giving them entry to revolutionary and cheap merchandise.

The principle goal of such legal guidelines, he writes, “is to guard shoppers by making certain they’ve entry to low-cost, high-quality services and products. And particularly within the case of know-how, fast innovation. That’s precisely the place Fb places its consideration: constructing one of the best merchandise, free for shoppers, and funded by advertisers.”

“Large in itself is not dangerous,” Clegg says. “Success shouldn’t be penalized. Our success has given billions of individuals across the globe entry to new methods of speaking with each other. Incomes cash from advertisements means we will present these instruments to individuals without spending a dime. Fb should not be damaged up — however it does have to be held to account.”

CNET’s Queenie Wong contributed to this report.


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