“Frances Haugen’s testimony to Congress about Facebook earlier this month shook the world because she conveyed a simple message: The company knows its products can be deeply harmful to people and to democracy. Yet Facebook’s leadership charges right along. As if on cue, the same week, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went completely dark for over five hours, illustrating how concentration creates single points of failure that jeopardize essential communications services.
At the root of Ms. Haugen’s testimony and the service interruption that hundreds of millions experienced is the question of power. We cannot expect Facebook—or any private, corporate actor—just to do the right thing. Creating a single company with this much concentrated power makes our systems and society more vulnerable in the long-term.
The good news is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to “fix” social media. We have a structure of controlled competition in place for other essential industries, and we need the same for social media.”