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Recode Daily: Facebook co-founder says it’s time to break up the company

Plus: Amazon is under scrutiny for its children’s Echo device, online shaving club Harry’s sells for over $1 billion, and Bezos unveils plans for a moon launcher.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Et tu, Chris? In a widely-read (and long) op-ed, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes turned on his old buddy Mark Zuckerberg. Hughes, who helped start Facebook with Zuckerberg back when they were college roommates at Harvard, laid out the case for government to break up the company and further regulate the social media behemoth. “It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade,” Hughes wrote. “But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility.” He went on to write that “no matter how well-intentioned,” Zuckerberg holds power that is “unprecedented and un-American.” As Emily Stewart explains — while there are plenty of calls to break up Facebook, from people like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — “Hughes joining the push to break up Facebook is huge: He was at the company at its infancy and helped set in motion many of the events that would ultimately make it so powerful.” An open question: why Hughes decided to speak out now.
[Emily Stewart / Vox]

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Amazon is being accused of collecting children’s data without parental consent with its Amazon Echo product for kids. Over a dozen advocacy groups are filing a federal complaint against Amazon after research found that the company allegedly “enabled children to easily divulge their names, home addresses, Social Security numbers and other intimate information to Alexa.” The complainants are arguing that Amazon didn’t get permission from parents before collecting and storing their children’s voice recordings. Amazon disputes this, and has stated that their products are in full compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Act. As Natasha Singer writes, “Amazon is seeking to capture children’s attention at a time of heightened public concern over the data-mining of youngsters,” as the complaint proves.
[Natasha Singer / New York Times]

Online shaving startup Harry’s — which sells razors, face washes, lotions, and other shaving and beauty products — is being sold for $1.37 billion. Edgewell, the company that owns the Schick razor brand, is buying the nine-year-old direct-to-consumer company. As Michael J. de la Merced writes, the deal is “one of the largest recent examples of an established business buying a younger, nimbler competitor born of the internet and predicated on reaching consumers in new ways.” Three years ago, Unilever bought Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion. Edgewell shares closed out Thursday dropping 6.2 percent to $33.55 on Thursday. Currently, Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand dominates the shaving market, with 47.3 percent of US market share, with Edgewell at around 13.6 percent and Harry’s at 2.6 percent, according to the Times.
[Michael J. de la Merced / The New York Times]

Jeff Bezos unveiled details about his space company’s new lunar lander, called the Blue Moon. “This vehicle is going to the moon,” said the Amazon CEO at a press conference announcing details about the vehicle, which can transport 3.6 metric tons to the lunar surface, according to Bezos. It’s designed to help enable a “sustained human presence” on the moon, according to the website. Bezos has been working toward launching a lunar lander since founding Blue Origin, his privately owned space company, nearly 20 years ago. Bezos also released details about a new rocket engine, called the BE-7, that he said would be test fired for the first time this summer. As Michael Sheetz writes, “Bezos’ ultimate ambition is to help humanity expand across the solar system, with a human population of more than a trillion living and working in space.”
[Michael Sheetz / CNBC]

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