CWA joined Freedom From Facebook, a coalition demanding the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) curb Facebook’s power. The coalition is urging regulators to spin off Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger into competing networks, require interoperability, and impose strong privacy rules that empower and protect us. You can read the coalition’s full petition at freedomfromFB.com.
“We should all be deeply concerned by Facebook’s power over our lives and democracy,” said CWA researcher Brian Thorn. “It’s time for the FTC to hold Facebook accountable, impose strong privacy rules on the platform, and break up the monopoly. Anything else would be unfair to the American people, our privacy, and our democracy.”
The coalition and petition come as concerns over Facebook’s power grow. At a hearing before Congress, Mark Zuckerberg struggled to name a single Facebook competitor. “If I buy a Ford, and it doesn’t work well, and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said to Zuckerberg at the hearing. “If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for,” Graham asked. “You don’t think you have a monopoly?”
CWA is also shining a light on Facebook’s role in age discrimination towards job applicants. In December 2017, CWA filed a class action lawsuit against multiple large employers for their use of Facebook to prevent millions of older Americans from seeing job ads. Plaintiff Linda Bradley said, “Today, the primary way workers find out about job openings is online, including by getting job ads on Facebook. It’s not right if people my age are deliberately screened out, and I don’t even get the chance to hear about jobs that I know I have the skills to do.”
Facebook’s role in excluding older job applicants is yet another example of the dangerous repercussions of the platform’s power over our lives. Not only can Facebook predict when its users will change jobs, it can also restrict which job openings they have access to.
View Freedom From Facebook’s website and the petition demanding that the FTC break up Facebook and implement strong privacy rules at freedomfromFB.com.
Top Communications Union Joins Group Pushing for Facebook’s Breakup (Bloomberg, July 9, 2018)
Coalition demands FTC curb Facebook’s power (Speed Matters, May 21, 2018)