The ad, purchased by the organization Freedom From Facebook, calls for signatures for a petition asking the Federal Trade Commission to take action. It quotes stinging comments of the company by former Facebook employees, including recently departed WhatsApp founder Jan Koum and vocal social media critic Chamath Palihapitiya.
“The business model Sheryl Sandberg designed for Facebook is breaking democracy,” the ad reads. “It’s time to break up Facebook.”
Facebook is at the center of growing concern around tech monopolies that have also prompted calls to break up giants like Amazon and Google. Facebook and Google dominate the domestic digital ad market and were projected to bring in more than 60 percent of U.S. digital ad spending last year, according to eMarketer.
A Facebook spokesperson, when asked for comment, offered only congratulations to the students at MIT: “This weekend is about celebrating the graduates.”
The founding members of the anti-Facebook coalition include The Open Markets Institute, an advocacy group that bills itself on its website as promoting the dangers of monopolization, and SumOfUs, which protested Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s power at the company’s shareholder meeting last week.
The ad comes on the heels of another privacy misstep for the social media giant, in which a software bug changed the default privacy settings of 14 million users so that posts intended for private audiences were shared widely with the public.
The company is also facing more questions around its data policies after The New York Times reported Facebook granted special access to Chinese firms.
View the full ad at Freedom From Facebook’s site.