Elon Musk deleted Facebook after a challenge from another tech titan

Amidst the backlash from privacy advocates over the revelations about the Cambridge Analytica data-mining operations, outspoken tycoon Elon Musk announced (on Twitter, of course) that he was joining the #deletefacebook movement in a response to WhatsApp founder Brian Acton.

Musk responded simply, “What’s Facebook?” before promising to remove the Facebook accounts for SpaceX and Tesla. “I didn’t realize there was one,” he added. “First time I’ve seen either.” The pages disappeared from Facebook shortly thereafter.

WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook in 2014 in a $16 billion deal. Acton, who’s worth more than six billion dollars, left Facebook to start his own non-profit foundation earlier this year. He’s also invested $50 million in an alternative to WhatsApp called Signal.

Acton took to Twitter to encourage his followers to dump Facebook. “It is time,” he wrote, adding the hashtag #deletefacebook.

The anti-Facebook movement is gaining traction, with the hashtag trending earlier this week. According to The Wrap, the social network had the first quarterly drop in its history, losing one million domestic users last year.

As the New York Times reported, Cambridge obtained private information from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without their permission. Facebook has since updated its agreement with third-party developers, barring them from using data obtained from friends’ profiles.

If you want to join the movement, deleting Facebook is a relatively straightforward process. Under Settings, in Manage Account, the Edit feature has an option called “Request account deletion.” Facebook warns that it may take up to 90 days, however, to remove everything you’ve posted.

If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, here are some steps you can take to protect your privacy on Facebook without deleting your account entirely.

Musk and Zuckerberg have a bit of a history. Zuckerberg said he was “deeply disappointed” in a peculiar statement after a SpaceX rocket exploded on the launch pad in 2016, resulting in the loss of Facebook’s Amos-6 satellite. In 2017, after Zuckerberg dismissed Musk’s concerns about artificial intelligence, Musk responded with a tweet calling Zuckerberg’s understanding of the subject “limited.”

Musk certainly doesn’t seem worried about his companies’ lack of a presence on Facebook. “Looks lame anyway,” he added in a follow-up tweet.


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