Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes speaks at Manny’s in San Francisco on Nov. 8, 2019.
Salvador Rodriguez | CNBC
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes said on Friday that he does not remember Mark Zuckerberg ever discussing the Iraq War through the early days of the business, newest comments from the CEO linking the war into his views on free speech.
“I had never heard that before, and the internet had never heard that before,” Hughes stated an event with the Bay Area Chapter of the American Constitution Society. “I don’t remember ever talking about that with Mark.”
Last month, Zuckerberg told an audience at Georgetown University that discussion about the Iraq War in Harvard, where he had been a pupil, and on Facebook in its embryonic days, played a vital part in his controversial positions on policing speech. Unlike other social networking companies, Facebook has stated it won’t prohibit political advertising nor will it play the part of fact-checker.
In asserting that Facebook was supposed to promote dialogue about the Iraq War, which started in 2003, Zuckerberg took a departure from the renowned source tale that has the creation of Facemash, a predecessor to Facebook where pupils could compare females in the college and determine who was more appealing.
Hughes stated he chooses Zuckerberg in his word and admits there is a chance he might not remember the past correctly, as it has been 15 years because Facebook was founded in their dorm room. But he indicated that it is an unlikely tale.
“I was at protests protesting the Iraq War,” Hughes said. “I did not go to any with Mark Zuckerberg.”
Mark Zuckerberg (L) and Chris Hughes (R) of ‘Facebook’ photographed at Eliot House at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. on May 14, 2004.
Rick Friedman | Corbis | Getty Images
Of late, Hughes has been a harsh critic of the company that he co-founded. In May, he joined a growing chorus calling for a breakup of the business, publishing a lengthy New York Times opinion piece where he contended that Facebook currently holds more power over speech compared to a private entity should.
“The most problematic aspect of Facebook’s power is Mark’s unilateral control over speech,” Hughes wrote. “There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people.”
Hughes has reportedly met with officials from the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department in addition to state attorneys general. They have all opened antitrust investigations into the social networking company.
In Friday’s event, Hughes also called for the creation of a new national government agency to oversee the technology sector, comparing it to existing bodies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Aviation Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. This group could be charged with regulating issues like online privacy, data security and information interoperability.
“It has to come with a congressional mandate, it has to be well funded, it has to have good leadership and it has to really be empowered to make actual decisions as the technology landscape continues to evolve,” Hughes said.
Regarding Libra, the electronic money project started by Facebook,” Hughes said the campaign has started a significant discussion but he does not think private companies should control international currency.
“I don’t need Facebook and Visa and Mastercard from a headquarters in Geneva to determine monetary policy in the U.S., or Turkey, or India or anywhere else,” he said. “It seems to be dead on arrival.”