Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has been helping build an antitrust case against the company he assisted in creating, according to a report in The New York Times.
The news follows Mr. Hughes’ May op-ed calling for Facebook’s break up, and comes a day after Facebook told investors it is under investigation by the FTC for anticompetitive behavior. Earlier this week, the DOJ announced a broad antitrust probe into tech companies as well.
According to The New York Times, Mr. Hughes, along with antitrust academics Scott Hemphill of New York University and Tim Wu of Columbia University, has had meetings at the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice in recent weeks. In making their case for antitrust action against Facebook, they argue it has made “serial defensive acquisitions” to protect its market power, buying up rivals. This has driven up the cost of advertising and made the user experience suffer, they argue in slides shown to government officials partially viewed by the Times.
Now that it’s clear the government plans to look at antitrust and tech, Mr. Hughes and the two academics will certainly not be the only people talking with the FTC and DOJ about this topic. We can expect other competitors and antitrust experts who aren’t convinced social platforms being free means they aren’t breaking the rules to join the fray in the coming weeks.