Several advocacy groups have banded together for a campaign that calls upon the US Federal Trade Commission to intervene and break up Facebook into smaller companies —and more specifically to split off the Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp services from the mother company.
The campaign, named Freedom from Facebook, was set into motion today by eight groups —Demand Progress, Citizens Against Monopoly, Content Creators Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, MoveOn, Mpower Change, Open Markets Institute, and SumOfUs, respectively.
Through a dedicated website, the eight advocacy groups are urging users to file a petition with the FTC on the grounds that Facebook has become a monopoly.
The campaign's motto is "It's time to make Facebook safe for democracy."
"Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have amassed a scary amount of power," the campaign's website reads. "Facebook unilaterally decides the news that billions of people around the world see every day.
"It buys up or bankrupts potential competitors to protect its monopoly, killing innovation and choice. It tracks us almost everywhere we go on the web and, through our smartphones, even where we go in the real world. It uses this intimate data hoard to figure out how to addict us and our children to its services. And then Facebook serves up everything about us to its true customers -- virtually anyone willing to pay for the ability to convince us to buy, do, or believe something."
The eight advocacy groups are also accusing Facebook of hiring lobby groups, think tanks, and academics to protect the company from any legal crackdown.
"The five members of the Federal Trade Commission, which is the part of our government tasked with overseeing Facebook, can make Facebook safe for our democracy by breaking it up, giving us the freedom to communicate across networks, and protecting our privacy," the advocacy groups say.
According to a report from Axios, the advocacy groups are launching a six-figure ad campaign today to promote their website. Ads are set to appear on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
As for Facebook, the social network played down the recent campaign and pointed out the recent privacy-centric updates it made to its service.
"Facebook is in a competitive environment where people use our apps at the same time they use free services offered by many others," a Facebook spokesperson said. "The average person uses eight different apps to communicate and stay connected. People use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger because they find them valuable, and we’ve been able to better fight spam and abuse and build new features much faster by working under one roof. We support smart privacy regulation and efforts that make it easier for people to take their data to competing services. But rather than wait, we’ve simplified our privacy controls and introduced new ways for people to access and delete their data, or to take their data with them."