Brian Acton, who was helped by Mark Zuckerberg to become a millionaire has turned against Facebook. The co-founder of Whatsapp took to Twitter to urge everyone to delete their Facebook profile. He said in a tweet, “It is time. #deletefacebook”. After deletion of a profile, it takes 90 days for the website to wipe the user’s data. The hashtag started trending after the news of Facebook’s link to Cambridge Analytica and leaking personal data of 50 million profiles came forward. Whatsapp was sold to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014.
California based entrepreneur insisting people to remove their profiles is coming at a time when Facebook is already facing lawsuits to explain its privacy safeguards to regulators and politicians in the US and UK. Cambridge Analytica got suspended from Facebook after knowing that the data of 50 million users were not destroyed as promised by them. Facebook stock is facing a 10 percent fall since the deletefacebook hashtag has started trending on Twitter. Before leaving to start the Signal Foundation, Acton was at Whatsapp for several years. He also applied for a job at Facebook in 2009 but got rejected.
Upon rejection from Facebook he tweeted, “Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.” When Whatsapp was sold, Acton was holding over 20% stake in the company which made him worth around $3.8 billion. Now the company has around 1.3 billion active monthly users and Acton is now worth around $5.5 billion.
The Whatsapp founder has 21,000 followers on Twitter and it is not clear if he has a Facebook profile or not. Mark Zuckerberg was called on to MPs in person to explain the company’s data protection procedures. Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee wrote to Zuckerberg to request that the firm explains the failure. The data firm has also suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix after his recordings emerged in which he was making a series of controversial claims. It also included boasts that CA had played an important role in the election of Donald Trump.
Downing Street released a statement calling the Facebook breach ‘very concerning’. MPs in the House of Commons also voiced their concerns over the interference in democracy. After 24 hours, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham confirmed that she was seeking a warrant to access CA’s system after the firm failed to respond to an earlier demand. The CA board also gave a statement saying that Mr. Nix has been suspended ‘with immediate effect, pending a full, independent investigation.’ It also said that the comments by Mr. Nix were recorded in secret filming by Channel 4 News.
Every interaction made with Facebook generates some data and users shares information in their profile like their hometown and birthday. Other data can be about interests which are obtained from public liking. Facebook also knows from where the user logged in from, the device which was used and which ads were clicked. Users can also see which information is shared with which app and there are also options to delete and limit the information.
Deleting an app might still allow the developer to retain some of the user’s personal data. Whatsapp itself has been a subject of criticism by governments and security services in the recent years since they provided means for criminals and terrorists to escape the surveillance. Acton launched the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization, which protects free expression and enables secure global communication.