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Kamala Harris sees Facebook as a 'utility' that might need breaking up

She believes the site needs more regulation than it has received.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 12, 2019
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AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Senator Elizabeth Warren isn't the only major presidential candidate eyeing the possibility of breaking up Facebook. Fellow Senator Kamala Harris stated in a CNN interview that she believed the US should "seriously take a look" at splitting the social network. It's effectively an unregulated "utility," she argued -- when "very few people can get by" without using Facebook in some capacity, you have to treat it more like a vital service.

The observations come days after Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes used an op-ed to ask the FTC to break up Facebook. Candidates beyond Harris have had varying stances. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has offered increased antitrust oversight without specifically calling for a Facebook split, while Sen. Cory Booker said a President shouldn't wield "personal beliefs" and declare which companies it will break up.

Harris might not face as much opposition from Facebook as you might think. While Global Affairs VP Nick Clegg wrote an op-ed rejecting the idea of a breakup, he did back calls for stricter regulation of social media. These would better hold companies to account, he said, and would ensure that rules were "consistent" with government values. Facebook would get at least some of what it wanted if Harris emerged victorious, even if it risked being carved into pieces.

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