It’s been a tough year for Mark Zuckerberg. His pet-project-turned-billion-dollar-social-media franchise, Facebook, has been mired in controversy after controversy. His reputation has been muddled, his business is losing popularity, and he’s even had to testify before Congress. The most recent of ailments to hit the Zuck is a fierce coalition of angry parties who are staging a campaign entitled “Freedom From Facebook”.
The movement is mostly concerned with two disparate but interlocking issues: privacy concerns, and anti-monopoly sentiments. Their ultimate goal is to lobby the Federal Trade Commission into breaking up Facebook Inc.
A statement on the movement’s official website reads as follows:
“The FTC should spin off Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger into competing networks, require interoperability, so we have the freedom to communicate across social networks, and impose strong privacy rules that empower and protect us.”
The most recent group to link forces with Freedom From Facebook happens to be the country’s largest communications union, Communication Workers of America or CWA for short. Brian Thorn, a prominent CWA researcher voiced his concerns in a strongly worded email, stating
“We should all be deeply concerned by Facebook’s power over our lives and democracy…[for the FTC to not take action against Facebook] would be unfair to the American people, our privacy, and our democracy.”
Sarah Miller, the director behind the anti-Facebook campaign, is encouraged by the union’s decision to take part in the lobbying, saying
“It’s a really important signal that we’re having more and more groups become interested in this set of solutions.”
The social media giant has partially defended itself by reminding the public that even a franchise as large as Facebook faces “stiff competition” and also by flaunting the fact that Facebook Inc.’s largest undertaking (the social network itself) is both free and wildly popular.
While Freedom From Facebook raises many legitimate concerns, it is hard to believe that the famous blue and white interface will be going anywhere any time soon—we’ll just have to wait and see.