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Opinion: it’s time to break up Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram

4 min read
  • Amid tensions between regulators, lawmakers and Facebook, we explore why it should be broken up.
  • Last year, the FTC sued Facebook with anti-competitive concerns.

This week, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all suffered from a major outage that was caused by a server misconfiguration. It lasted for hours and caused downtime on all sites that Facebook own.

A further outage also affected Facebook and Instagram on Friday, although only for about 30 minutes. Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, and later acquired WhatsApp for $16 billion in 2014. It has since come under intense pressure from regulators and governments to cut ties with the two platforms.

The Federal Trade Commission sued Facebook last year, in an attempt to break up the companies amid anti-competitive concerns.

The lawsuit will take years to resolve, but it’s now time to break up Facebook. While there are quite rightly separate concerns about how Facebook uses and deals with your data, the dominance of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp stifles innovation, and limits competition. Although services like Telegram and Signal have grown rapidly throughout the past year, and they continue to innovate and add new functionality, Facebook-owned apps do not. WhatsApp and Instagram are especially slow in adopting new features and making changes.

So it’s time to break up the companies and allow them to operate under their own values, leadership and skill sets, innovate past the boundaries of Facebook and create a fun and safe new experience for users.

It’s quite clear from the outage earlier this week that at least thousands would prefer that Facebook never came back online, or that its connections with WhatsApp and Instagram must be cut to make them welcoming again.

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