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*-- Progressive groups launch 'six-figure' campaign to break up Facebook --*

A collection of left-wing groups launched a movement Monday called Freedom From Facebook, which calls for the federal government to break up the social media giant.

The groups -- the Content Creators Coalition, Demand Progress, the Open Markets Institute, Demand Progress, SumOfUs and MoveOn -- announced a "six-figure" digital advertising "offensive" to demand the Federal Trade Commission break up Facebook and subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

"The five members of the Federal Trade Commission ... can make Facebook safe for our democracy by breaking it up, giving us the freedom to communicate across networks, and protecting our privacy," the coalition states on its website.

The alliance said it plans to run ads with messages like "Facebook keeps violating your privacy. Break it up," and "Mark Zuckerberg has a scary amount of power. We need to take it back."

"Facebook unilaterally decides the news that billions of people around the world see every day. It buys up or bankrupts potential competitors to protect its monopoly, killing innovation and choice."

The group said it will also purchase ads on the social network sites to encourage people to sign the petition.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC Monday its purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp were approved by federal regulators.

"People use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger because they find them valuable, and we've been able to better fight spam and abuse and build new features much faster by working under one roof," the spokesperson added.

The FTC is already investigating Facebook over whether it violated a 2011 privacy agreement in its dealings with Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct British research firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

In 2011, the FTC found Facebook allowed third-party applications to access more data than it needed. Facebook was told to get "express consent" of users before any data, beyond user's privacy settings, was sold or otherwise distributed.


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