Facebook Co-Founder Says the Tech Giant is “Un-American.” Watch Our Film DIGITAL DISCONNECT to See Why He’s Right.

Facebook NYT

New York Times screen shot, May 9, 2019


In a remarkable essay in the New York Times last week, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for the federal government to break up the company and regulate it.

His reason: under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has grown into an “unaccountable” half-trillion-dollar monopoly that violates the privacy rights of its users and dominates the social networking landscape in ways that are crushing competition, restricting innovation, and threatening democracy.

“Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American. It is time to break up Facebook,” Hughes says in the essay. “We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be…That’s why the founders created a system of checks and balances. They didn’t need to foresee the rise of Facebook to understand the threat that gargantuan companies would pose to democracy. Jefferson and Madison were voracious readers of Adam Smith, who believed that monopolies prevent the competition that spurs innovation and leads to economic growth.”

Hughes’s essay, which also takes aim at the democracy-threatening practices of tech leviathans like Google and Amazon, mirrors the core arguments made by renowned media scholar Robert McChesney in our new video Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy.

We urge you to screen Digital Disconnect in your classes and communities as debates about the anti-democratic powers of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and giant corporations outside the tech sector move into the mainstream like never before. Because your school has access to our collection through Kanopy, you can watch this film now or save it to your watchlist for later.

Check out the trailer for Digital Disconnect here:

Digital Disconnect is a major contribution to the enlightenment and self-defense of citizens concerned with the state of their society and how we should act to overcome threatening social and institutional pathologies.”

— Noam Chomsky, University of Arizona

“I love this movie! It offers a crash course in the hidden history of the Internet and [shows] how this revolutionary platform capable of enhancing freedom and democracy is being transformed into a vehicle for monopoly, hypercommercialism, and surveillance.”

— Jeff Cohen, Associate Professor of Journalism, Ithaca College

Digital Disconnect combines McChesney’s terrific explanatory skills with MEF’s wonderful production values and creativity, providing a one-stop ‘zero-to-60’ education in the most important topic of our times.”

— Larry Gross, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

“Masterful. Lays bare how unfettered capitalism and digital monopolies diminish the internet’s democratic potential. I loved this film and will definitely use it in my own classes!”

— Victor Pickard, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania