EU: Vestager says breaking up Facebook would be a last resort

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said breaking up social media giant Facebook would be a last resort, according to a report by Reuters.

Vestager made her comments on Friday, May 17, at the VivaTech technology conference in Paris, after being asked about the subject following US politicians and a Facebook co-founder speaking out in favor of dismantling the company.

“Of course it would be a remedy of very last resort. I think it would keep us in court for maybe a decade. It is much more direct and maybe much more powerful to say we need access to data,” Vestager said.

Earlier in the week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 presidential candidate, voiced his support for breaking up Facebook, according to reports, something fellow candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called for as well.

Sanders shared his thoughts with Politico, and when asked if he supports Warren’s proposal for antitrust actions against Facebook, he responded, “The answer is yes of course.”

“We have a monopolistic — an increasingly monopolistic society where you have a handful of very large corporations having much too much power over consumers,” Sanders said.

His comments came on the heels of a much publicized New York Times op-ed piece by Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes (who no longer works for the social media giant) also calling for the breakup of Facebook.

“The government must hold Mark accountable. For too long, lawmakers have marveled at Facebook’s explosive growth and overlooked their responsibility to ensure that Americans are protected and markets are competitive. Any day now, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to impose a $5 billion fine on the company, but that is not enough; nor is Facebook’s offer to appoint some kind of privacy czar,” Hughes wrote.

“After Mark’s congressional testimony last year, there should have been calls for him to truly reckon with his mistakes. Instead the legislators who questioned him were derided as too old and out of touch to understand how tech works. That’s the impression Mark wanted Americans to have, because it means little will change.”

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