California Senator Kamala Harris, one of the (innumerable) Democrats eyeing the White House in a 2020 presidential bid, has joined Massachusetts senator and fellow candidate Elizabeth Warren in calling for antitrust authorities to look at a possible breakup of Facebook.
Possible antitrust action against Facebook has been in the news lately after one of the platform’s co-founders, Chris Hughes, published an op-ed in the New York Times saying the company has become too big and too powerful to be subject to any real accountability, suppresses competition, and must be split up. Harris didn’t go so far as Warren—who has published a proposal calling for regulators to split off Facebook subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp—but in a CNN interview on Sunday, she said it was time to take the idea seriously.
“I think that Facebook has experienced massive growth, and has prioritized its growth over the best interests of its consumers—especially on the issue of privacy,” Harris told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “There is no question in my mind that there needs to be serious regulation, and that has not been happing. There needs to be more oversight; that has not been happening.”
“… They have not been adequately informing consumers about where they are relinquishing their privacy,” Harris added.
When Tapper asked Harris directly whether she believed that Facebook should be broken up, Harris responded, “Yeah, I think we have to seriously take a look at that. Yes. I mean, when you look at the issue, they’re essentially a utility. There are very people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities, or society, or in whatever their profession [is], without somehow, somewhere using Facebook. It’s very difficult for people to be engaged in any level of commerce without” Facebook.
“So we have to recognize it for what it is,” Harris concluded. “It is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated. And as far as I’m concerned that’s gotta stop.”