Could Facebook be broken up by the US government after recent scandals cost it the public’s trust?

Despite massive profits and the huge popularity of Facebook worldwide, there is no hiding the fact that the social media giant is in trouble.

Hardly a month seems to go by without a new scandal hitting the headlines.

When it emerged that Russia had used Facebook to help President Donald Trump win the 2017 US election, we realised that the network had become a tool for social division and the spread of disinformation.

Then the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke and we found out that Facebook had allowed the data of 87m users to be misused.

Even more alarmingly, Facebook also stands accused of allowing young minds to be damaged.

After teenager Molly Russell killed herself, her family discovered she had been viewing material linked to self-harm and suicide on the Facebook-owned site Instagram.

Molly’s father accused the social media giant of helping to kill his daughter.

Trust is an important word in public relations. Brands go to great lengths to win and protect the trust of their customers and the public.

Facebook’s reputation has taken a beating and it has lost the trust of many people.

In a speech last month at Davos, company COO Sheryl Sandberg said that Facebook needed to earn back that trust.

But can it be trusted to put its own house in order?

The UK government is currently drawing up plans to regulate Facebook and fellow social media companies.

The former Culture secretary, Matt Hancock, had pledged to legislate to stop social media abuse and the sharing of harmful content.

But can the UK government – acting on its own – effectively regulate such a massive, global concern as Facebook?

The only solution may be for the US government, where Facebook is based, to bring in new legislation or even act under competition regulations to break the social media firm up.

Facebook has just celebrated its 15th birthday. It’s time this unruly teenager was forced to act like a responsible adult.