Facebook says breaking up a 'successful American company' isn't the right way to hold it accountable

  • After Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes called for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish his stranglehold on the industry and for the company to be broken up in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday, the tech giant has responded.
  • "Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don't enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company," Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communication, said.
  • Hughes is calling for a breakup of Facebook, which he said would involve spinning off its Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions and heavier government regulation around privacy controls.
  • Facebook said its chief exec is already working with the government just fine: "Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for. Indeed, he is meeting government leaders this week to further that work."
  • Read the full Chris Hughes op-ed here.
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After Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes called for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish his stranglehold on the industry and for the company to be broken up, the tech giant has responded — and it doesn't agree.

"Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don't enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company," Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communication, said in a statement first given to CNN. "Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for. Indeed, he is meeting government leaders this week to further that work."

In the 6,000-plus word New York Times op-ed, Hughes chronicled the rise of Facebook and how his college roommate Zuckerberg amassed too much power, in his view, along the way.

"He's human," Hughes wrote of Zuckerberg. "But it's his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic."

Read more: A Facebook cofounder has written a blistering New York Times op-ed arguing that Mark Zuckerberg's social network should be torn apart

The early cofounder is calling for a breakup of Facebook, which he said would involve spinning off its Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions. Hughes also wants more government regulation to make Facebook more accountable to Americans, specifically regarding its privacy controls and handling of user data.

The social-media giant is already facing up to a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission for its mishandling of user data, but some have called the penalty a mere slap on the wrist for a company worth more than half a trillion dollars.

Facebook's fast response on Thursday put to rest any ideas that it would consider easily letting go of its hugely valuable Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions.

Others aren't buying the company's argument that just because it's successful, it shouldn't be broken up.