This week’s news has largely been dominated by a very social scandal – centering around Facebook’s reported role in assisting political consultancy Cambridge Analytica with their access to millions of user profiles and sensitive data. Said data is reported to have been used to help Donald Trump’s 2016 US Presidential campaign – and with up to 50 million people supposedly thought to be affected by the data mining, Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix finds himself on the receiving end of a suspension and the promise of an independent investigation. This comes, too, after UK broadcaster Channel 4 aired hidden recordings of the consultancy chief appearing to suggest that politicians could be entrapped via the employment of attractive women.
Beyond the scandal and inner turmoil currently facing Cambridge Analytica, millions of Facebook users are now faced with a large quandary – is my data being used in such a way elsewhere that I don’t know about? Why hasn’t Mark Zuckerberg publicly commented on the scandal (at the time of writing)? How can I make sure that my data is protected from unwanted intrusion and collection in future? With Facebook – again, at the time of writing – yet to commit to any sort of statement with regard to the unfolding furore – and with their stock value dipping significantly as investors begin to panic – one particular way to protect yourself is simple – to jump ship and delete your account.
That’s according to WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who – along with Jan Koum – sold the brand to Zuckerberg’s social network in 2014 for around $16 billion. Acton left the firm late last year – and in response to emerging concerns over the latest news as to how Facebook intends to manage user data, Acton took to twitter to make his position abundantly clear. “It is time. #DeleteFacebook”, his headline-grabbing tweet reads – though neither he nor the remaining WhatsApp board have reportedly responded to requests for comments. Acton is thought, also, to have invested around $50 million into a WhatsApp alternative earlier this year – called Signal – meaning that the entrepreneur is keeping his finger firmly on the pulse of global comms.
It’s hardly been an easy week for Facebook – with their value taking a hit and with more and more people – and media outlets – demanding answers, it will remain to be seen how both the social network and Cambridge Analytica emerge from this.