"It is time. #deletefacebook". This tweet took the social media by storm back in March 2018. The tweeter was none other than Brian Acton, the co-founder of the popular messaging app WhatsApp, owned by Facebook. A year later on November 10, 2019, Acton reiterated his view, this time with valid evidence. Speaking at the Wired's 25th anniversary summit, he reaffirmed his belief and appealed to people to logout and delete Facebook from their lives.
Emphasizing the need to delete Facebook, Acton said, "If you want to be on Facebook and you want to have ads thrust in front of you, go to town." Acton's statement as a direct dig on the social media giant who recently made news for its indecisiveness to ban political bans from its platform.
After Twitter announced that it is banning all kinds of political ads from the platform to curb the spread of lies and misinformation during the 2020 US Presidential campaigning season, tech giants Google and Facebook have said that they are mulling to make changes to their political ad policy. However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook will not ban posting political ads on its platform because all the company cared for was money.
Acton's tweet highlighting the urgency to logout from Facebook came during the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook was massively criticized for breaching data protection laws by failing to keep users' private data safe and for allowing the now-defunct UK firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest data of more than 87 million people worldwide.
Recently, Facebook agreed to pay a fine of £ 500,000 ($643,000) to the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) over its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Earlier this year, during his talk at the Stanford University, Acton urged the students to delete their accounts from Facebook.
Defending his outcry against Facebook, Acton said that the lack of 'tombstones' is a fatal flaw on Facebook. He added that he would rather prefer Twitter because it was 'a lot more public and visible'. Acton started WhatsApp along with his friend and co-worker Jan Koum in 2009. After being rejected by Facebook, Acton and Koum wanted to develop an application that lets family, friends and contacts know what's up- thus originated the name 'WhatsApp'.
In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion. Reports suggest that Acton decided to part ways with Facebook over his conflict with Mark Zuckerberg. He parted ways with Facebook after being pressurized to monetize WhatsApp. After he quit Facebook, Acton co-founded the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization which created the encrypted messaging service Signal.
Acton is not the first former Facebook executive to openly criticize the social media giant. The former head of growth for Facebook and current CEO of Social Capital, a venture capital firm, Chamath Palihapitiya stated that Facebook has created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. Its high time Facebook should take stringent action to restore its faith among public.