Social media giants must be broken up, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes wrote on Thursday.

Hughes underlined the significant concentration of Western industries in the last twenty years, with companies’ average size tripling.

Hughes argues that regulating conglomeration practices is as important as monitoring pharmaceutics or vehicle manufacturers.

He blames market domination—of e-commerce by Amazon, search engines by Google, and social media by Facebook—on the gradual defanging of anti-trust efforts, potentialised by inadequate oversight and a decades-long campaign by economists and corporate lobbyists against anti-trust initiatives.

And indeed, no new social media enterprises have blossomed since 2011, as Facebook promptly copied new, popular features—or bought its competitors out.

Critics insist this level of economic monopolisation reduces customers’ choice, slows productivity, and stifles entrepreneurship.

These corporations’ size and clout make reprimanding them difficult. For instance, April rumours of a $5 billion federal fine only represented a sixth of Facebook shares’ value increase the next day.

Activists, lawmakers, and industry leaders have proposed various strategies to curtail corporate power—reversing acquisitions and banning short-term ones; creating new federal oversight bodies; applying broadcast television regulations to social media, or requiring it provide a ‘Duty of Care.'

How might we best enforce accountability on monopolies?

 

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.