The #DeleteFacebook movement just gained a notable supporter: Brian Acton, co-founder of Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
Acton and fellow WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum sold their messaging app to Facebook in 2014 for $16 billion, becoming very rich in the process. After leaving Facebook last year to start his own nonprofit, Acton is now speaking out against the social media behemoth in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Acton’s anti-Facebook PSA follows revelations that the London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, best known for its work on the Donald Trump campaign, harvested the personal information of 50 million Facebook users without their permission for political targeting.
Cambridge Analytica obtained the sensitive data in 2014 with the help of psychology professor Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, who developed a Facebook app that not only surveyed 270,000 users over the platform, but also scraped data on their Facebook friends. The 50 million raw profiles were then transferred to Cambridge Analytica, an act that violated Facebook’s policies.
Facebook has since “suspended” Cambridge Analytica, Kogan, and other involved parties, but is now facing major flak for failing to prevent this from happening. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating whether the incident violated a 2011 settlement it reached with Facebook over earlier privacy violations.
Facebook did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment about the #DeleteFacebook movement and Acton’s support of it.
Meanwhile, this past November, another ex-Facebooker, Chamath Palihapitiya, spoke out against the company, saying social media is corroding society and allows bad actors to “manipulate large swaths of people.”
“It literally is [at] a point now where I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” the former Facebook VP of User Growth said during an interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “That is truly where we are.”