The leading U.S. communications union is joining a coalition calling for the Federal Trade Commission to break up and regulate Facebook.
Bloomberg reports that the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the top U.S. communications union, has joined the Freedom From Facebook coalition. “We should all be deeply concerned by Facebook’s power over our lives and democracy,” said Brian Thorn, a researcher for CWA, which currently has approximately 700,000 members. In an email to Bloomberg, Thorn stated that for the FTC to not break Facebook up and impose stronger privacy regulations “would be unfair to the American people, our privacy, and our democracy.”
Facebook is currently being investigated by the FBI, the SEC, the FTC and the Department of Justice in relation to user privacy issues following the Cambridge Analytica user data leak which allegedly involved the personal information of 87 million Facebook users left vulnerable.
The CWA currently represents workers for a number of companies, such as AT&T, but does not currently represent Facebook employees. CWA communications director Beth Alen discussed the union’s ability to influence regulatory processes saying in an interview: “There’s a lot of public pressure around this issue. We hope to increase that public pressure around it, and I’m fairly optimistic that there is an appetite for making some progress there.”
Allen further stated that Facebook is “a whole new kind of entity that I think regulators are struggling to keep up with,” noting that the company has such a wide-range of businesses that fall under the Facebook brand, such as WhatsApp, Instagram and many more. Sarah Miller, Freedom From Facebook’s director, stated that the group’s message appears to be gaining support from the public and others in the tech industry: “It’s a really important signal that we’re having more and more groups become interested in this set of solutions,” she said.
CWA will help the coalition to develop it’s rapidly growing and changing strategy according to Miller. The coalition is urging members to take part in upcoming public hearings relating to the FTC’s investigation of Facebook.