WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton said today that people should get rid of their Facebook accounts. WhatsApp, a chat app with 1.5 billion monthly active users, was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for more than $16 billion.
“It’s time,” Acton tweeted, followed by #deletefacebook.
It is time. #deletefacebook
— Brian Acton (@brianacton) March 20, 2018
Acton left WhatsApp in September 2017. His critical tweet came during an already bruising few days for the social media giant, following new revelations about data misuse. Recent events have made it even more clear how wrong CEO Mark Zuckerberg was to discount allegations that Facebook was used to impact 2016 presidential election results.
On Friday, Facebook announced it had suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, SCL Group, from its platform for misuse of data. The personal information of 50 million Facebook users was reportedly harvested by the company linked to Donald Trump presidential campaign donor Robert Mercer and strategist Steve Bannon. The data was used to target voters, rather than for academic research.
Cambridge Analytica suspended CEO Alexander Nix today following the release of recordings by Channel 4 of Nix talking about the company’s role in the Trump presidential campaign and offering to blackmail the opposition for a potential client.
Since the revelations, Facebook’s market cap has fallen some $50 billion, and Zuckerberg has been noticeably absent. An emergency all-hands meeting reportedly held today at Facebook was led not by Zuckerberg or chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, but by deputy general counsel Paul Grewal.
Investigations have been launched by authorities in multiple countries, U.K. members of parliament, and attorneys general in the states of New York and Massachusetts. Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have also said they plan to launch their own audits into the matter.
Acton is the latest former Facebook executive to criticize the company. Last fall, former Facebook head of user growth Chamath Palihapitiya said Facebook is ripping apart the social fabric of society, while the company’s former president, Sean Parker, questioned Facebook’s effect on children’s brains.