Facebook has had a tough week in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and is now being scrutinized by governments around the world, including investigations and hearings. Cambridge Analytica is a data mining company offers strategies for marketing and political gains by utilizing information taken from social media.
A leak from a former Cambridge Analytica employee stated that the political data analytics company accessed the information of over 50 million Facebook users without their permission. Cambridge Analytica is said to have gotten personal data from a quiz taken by 270,000 Facebook users. It is against Facebook rules for companies to get access to user information in this way. Facebook discovered the data breach in 2015, but nothing was done to secure the data and no repercussions were placed on Cambridge Analytica.
Cambridge Analytica was hired by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 to do digital work, TV ads, and polling in swing states. Now there is an outcry for the social media giant to secure the privacy of its users and there’s even a #DeleteFacebook movement that is backed by the WhatsApp co-founder who made billions from Facebook.
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has joined the #DeleteFacebook campaign that urges users to stop using the social media platform. On Tuesday, Acton urged people to delete their Facebook accounts. “It is time,” Acton wrote and added the hashtag #deletefacebook.
Acton is the co-founder of WhatsApp, which was sold to Facebook in 2014 for $16 billion. After the sale, Acton and fellow WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum joined Facebook’s board. In September of 2017, Acton announced his departure from Facebook to focus on his new endeavor of starting “a nonprofit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications.”
Acton isn’t the first person connected to Facebook to denounce the social media network. Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, said he feels “tremendous guilt” for helping build Facebook into the monster it is today. “It literally is at a point now we’ve created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” Palihapitiya said. “That is literally where we are. I would encourage all of you how to internalize this is – if you feed the beast, the beast will destroy you.”
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” Palihapitiya continues. “No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it’s not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.” Palihapitiya stated that he would not let his own children use social media.