FTC urged to ‘make Facebook safe for democracy’

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San Francisco, May 21 (IANS) A team of progressive advocacy groups has asked the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “make Facebook safe for democracy” by breaking the social media giant’s monopoly in the market.

According to technology website Axios, the group “Freedom From Facebook” is launching a six-figure ad campaign on Monday that will run on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter among other platforms.

“Facebook has too much power over our lives and democracy. It’s time for us to take that power back,” the team wrote on the official “Freedom From Facebook” website.

The group is calling on the FTC to “break up Facebook’s monopoly” by forcing it to spin off Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger into separate, competing companies.

They also want the FTC to require inter-operability, so users have the freedom to communicate across social networks, and impose strong privacy rules that empower and protect them.

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The website also has an online petition and privacy guide that links to FB Purity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Privacy Badger — browser extensions that help users streamline their Facebook ad preferences and block spying ads and invisible trackers, Tech Crunch reported.

The FTC is currently investigating if Facebook’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica violated a previous legal agreement it had with the commission.

According to the report, people are wondering if federal agencies are capable of regulating tech companies, especially after many lawmakers seemed confused about how social media works during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearing last month.

Embroiled in a massive data breach controversy, Facebook still beat Wall Street’s estimates by raking in $11.97 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2018.

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The social media giant reported $4.98 billion in profit — up from $4.26 billion in the last quarter.

“Despite facing important challenges, our community continues to grow. More than 2.2 billion people now use Facebook every month and more than 1.4 billion people use it daily,” Zuckerberg had said.

Facebook added 70 million monthly active users (MAUs) to reach 2.196 billion globally — a 3.14 per cent growth rate.



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