Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times earlier this year about the danger of Facebook’s dominance, has started a fund against monopolies.
CNBC is reporting that the fund is worth $10 million and it’s an initiative of Hughes’ Economic Security Project. It will prop up research from academics, market power-related work and policy.
The fund won’t just be focused on Facebook, but also Big Tech in general. It will be funded until 2021 and it’s partnered with the Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation and Open Society Foundations.
“We are at a pivotal moment where cultural and political momentum are aligned to rein in the unchecked behavior of Big Tech,” Hughes said. “In addition to the necessary scrutiny of the tech industry, there is also a need and opportunity to take meaningful action on monopoly power across industries that’s led to corporate interests in the driver’s seat of our political and economic system for far too long.”
In May, Hughes wrote his New York Times piece calling for Facebook to be broken up. Hughes co-founded Facebook with CEO Mark Zuckerberg 15 years ago and stayed with the social media company until 2008, when he left to work for Barack Obama on the former president's campaign. Hughes said he liquidated all his Facebook shares in 2012.
It’s a perilous time for Facebook, as it undergoes various investigations from state and federal regulators alike. It’s facing inquiries from the Federal Trade Commission, the House Judiciary Committee and a number of state attorneys general, who have banded together on an antitrust investigation of the social media giant.
The company is also in the midst of launching its own cryptocurrency, called Libra, which has been met with opposition from regulators worldwide. France and Germany have outright said they won’t back the cryptocurrency. Several members of the Libra Association, a coalition of companies meant to support the currency, have left in the past few weeks. Those departing members include PayPal, Mastercard and eBay.