Data Privacy: Kamala Harris Backs Facebook Breakup

DATA PRIVACY – Kamala Harris, who is a democratic presidential candidate, said that she supports calls for looking into the eventual breaking up of Facebook Inc., the world’s biggest social media network, tagging it as a “utility”.

During an interview, Harris said that the social media titan has prioritized growth over the users.

“I think that Facebook has experienced massive growth and has prioritized its growth over the best interest of its consumers, especially in the issue of privacy. There is no question in my mind that there needs to be serious regulation, and that that has not been happening. There needs to be more oversight. That has not been happening,” Harris explained in the interview.

Facebook has been under fire from regulators all over the world for alleged violations of data privacy rules as well as the spread of hate speech and misinformation on its network.

Apart from Harris, other US lawmakers, such as Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, have encouraged calls to break up big tech companies as well as federal privacy regulation.

Last week, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes published a column that criticized chairman and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, calling for the company to be broken up.

For Harris, Facebook has grown to become a utility that needs to be controlled.

“There are very few people that can actually get by, and be involved in their communities and society, or in whatever their profession, without somehow, somewhere using Facebook. It’s very difficult for people to be engaged in any level of commerce without it. So, we have to recognize it for what it is: it is essentially a utility that has one unregulated. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s got to stop,” Harris explained.

Clegg, Booker Not In Favor of Breaking Up FacebookData Privacy – a silhouette of a woman using her phone, with Facebook on the background – Finance Brokerage

Meanwhile, Nick Clegg, who is Facebook’s head of global affairs, rejected the calls for the social media giant to be broken up.

According to Clegg, Hughes has “quite rightly highlighted… complex issues” that surround Facebook like “data use, privacy” and election meddling.

However, he claimed that “chopping a great American success story into bits is not something that’s going to make those problems go away.”

Apart from Clegg, another presidential contender also rejected the idea of breaking up the tech giant. New Jersey senator Cory Booker said that Facebook’s dominance was a part of a wider issue of corporate consolidation across various sectors.

“I don’t care if it’s Facebook, the pharma industry, even the agricultural industry. We’ve had a problem in America with corporate consolidation that is having really ill effects. It’s driving out the independent family farmer. It’s driving up our prescription drug costs. And in the realm of technology, we’re seeing…one or two companies…controlling a significant amount of online advertising,” Booker said.

Asked about the breaking up of Facebook, Booker said that he wasn’t totally supportive of the proposal.

“I don’t think that a president should be running around, pointing at companies and saying break them up without any kind of process here. Do I think it is a massive problem in America, corporate consolidation? Absolutely. It’s about making sure that we have a system that works,” he said.

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