"Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, says the company is so big and powerful that it threatens our democracy."
"threatens our democracy". I've heard this talking point so much that it has no meaning any longer. It's just another of the oft-repeated talking point created by PR firms as part of a propaganda campaign.
If facebook is truly that powerful that it "threatens our democracy", then it doesn't say much of our democracy does it? I'd say the people attacking the constitution and our rights are the real "threats to our democracy". Facebook is far down on the list of "threats to our democracy". I consider censorship, money in politics, the congressional-industrial-military complex, the israeli/saudi/chinese/etc influence in our economic, media and government institutions, globalism, etc to be far greater threats to democracy than facebook. If facebook was truly as powerful as he says, the establishment and their media wouldn't be attacking facebook as vigorously as they have been. Lets be honest.
If Chris Hughes, "co-founder" of Facebook truly feels this way, why doesn't he just created a competitor to facebook. It isn't that difficult to create a social media platform. Though it may be difficult to get users.
This is a piece about Facebook specifically. You shouldn't expect that he address every monopoly that should be broken up.
American democracy of fifty years ago had the mainstream press as gatekeepers. At the same time, you had a measure of the press taking it's job seriously, the state being separate from private industry and the education system producing an informed populace and the middle class having an material stake in the running of the society.
Today you see a decline in all this stuff alone with the rise of the Internet. Phenomena like anti-Vax movements and other conspiracy theories are certainly corrosive but if one is looking for analogies to this, one might look at the problematic politics of third world nations where wild rumors and demagogues have been a characterizing factor for a long time. And all the mainstream institutions of the US certain bear blame for allowing the "third-world-ization" of the US.
If Google owns Search, Gmail, Android, Analytics, Chat, Google Fi, Google Fiber, Chrome, GPay, etc... then they are able leverage one monopoly to establish monopolies elsewhere.
...and that is ultimately what is most destructive to Competition and consumer value. All of the above could be separate companies. Facebook gets a lot of bad press, but Google is the big danger.
You're right that Google leverages its portfolio of services to get a foothold in other ventures, but not one of those listed above is a monopoly. There are solid and well-performing alternatives/competitors to nearly all of Google's services. Their (and Facebook's) online advertising business is another story.
I'm very happy to live in Canada, where Google Pay is completely irrelevant thanks to Interac. I can walk into any business with a payment terminal and know that my debit card will just plain work, no matter my back or credit union. And I can send money instantly online to anyone else who also has an account at a Canadian bank or credit union.
Of course, this means that my bank knows all my transactions, but not using a bank is orders of magnitude harder than not using Google.
Censorship: Facebook is the largest censor on the internet.
Money in politics: Facebook is an enormous lobbyist and political advertiser.
Foreign influence: Foreign actors can gather lots of information through Facebook--most of the news about privacy issues on Facebook involve corporations, but it's naive to believe that it's only corporations doing this.
Media/government institutions: Facebook IS a media institution, and other media/government institutions use Facebook to gather information on people.
Globalism: Facebook is a globalist organization.
Also, it's more impactful for someone to say "the thing I've created has become a monster" than "the thing that's in direct financial competition with the thing I created is a monster" because it doesn't feel like misdirection. It feels more honest.