If you’ve spent any time online in the last few days, you may have noticed that the hashtag #DeleteFacebook is trending. This time, though, it’s not because of an unpopular update to the Newsfeed — there’s a more serious, not to mention creepy, reason you might want to get on board the #DeleteFacebook train and actually delete your own profile.
The #DeleteFacebook movement began this weekend after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining and analytics firm based in London, had harvested the data of more than 50 million Facebook users. The company then used that data to help the Trump campaign target advertisements, which may have influenced the results of the 2016 presidential election. The news was broken by a whistleblower who used to work for Cambridge Analytica.
According to The Verge, the Facebook user data was obtained by Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge psychology professor. It was then given to Strategic Communication Laboratories, an affiliated behavior research firm, in violation of Facebook’s terms of service.
Facebook was fully aware of the data that Cambridge Analytica had, and asked the company to delete it. However, Facebook never followed up or tried to confirm that the data had been deleted. Until last week, Facebook even continued to allow Cambridge Analytica to keep operating on its platform
In other words, Facebook knew what was going on — and did almost nothing to stop it. That’s why former users of the platform are urging others to #DeleteFacebook.
This is just another thing Facebook has done in the last few years to make users question the security and safety of the social media platform. It’s not the first time Facebook has failed to police the platform and lost the trust of users. It’s also not the first time Facebook has done something to make users question the platform’s role in the 2016 presidential election.
This time, though, things appear to be more serious. Business Insider reports that lawmakers are investigating Facebook, and that major executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are “quietly freaking out” about what’s going on. On top of that, Facebook’s stock has plunged, and this could even spark the beginning of a federal investigation.
The hashtag isn’t just a trend on Twitter, either — users are actually deleting their accounts, with celebrities and other big names getting in on it. Even former Facebook exec and WhatsApp co-funder Brian Acton has gotten on board with #DeleteFacebook.
On Twitter, other users are making really good points as well, and they might all actually inspire you to delete your own page:
Some users, including Jim Carrey, have brought up this old interview Mark Zuckerberg once gave:
Some users are pointing out that this probably hasn’t only happened with Cambridge Analytica:
And many have pointed out that the company has been untrustworthy for a long time:
Facebook has yet to release an official statement about this, although Zuckerberg is expected to say something today. We’ll keep you updated.