Press Release

Open Markets: Facebook Threatens Democracy As Well as Public Health

Washington, D.C. — In an interview Sunday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she has closed her account on Facebook, due to concerns about the “public health risk” posed by the platform. “There are amplified impacts for young people, particularly children under the age of three, with screen time,” she said. “I think it has effects on everybody. Increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.”

In the past, Ocasio-Cortez has also criticized social media platforms for their role in destroying journalism.

Open Markets Board Chair Zephyr Teachout said today that the best way to address Facebook’s threat is to recognize that in addressing the corporation’s threat to democracy, Americans can simultaneously address the threat to public health.

“Facebook is an essential communications infrastructure, one that has also been designed to addict us to using its system,” Teachout said. “The way to fix both problems simultaneously is to force Facebook to abandon its present business model, which is to sell advertising based on the corporation’s ability to attract people’s attention, capture their secrets, and then use that information to manipulate thoughts and actions.”

Open Markets calls on Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to fix America’s Facebook crisis, by retroactively unwinding bad mergers such as that of Whatsapp and Instagram, by separating Facebook’s ad-based business from its platform, and by outlawing all discriminatory delivery of prices and services to individual citizens.

It’s time for the United States to return to our traditional, long-standing policy of outlawing all spying on our citizens, by public and private actors, and all manipulation of news, information, and commerce.

Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]