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Even WhatsApp's co-founder says it's time to delete Facebook

Brian Acton, who became a billionaire after selling Facebook bought WhatsApp, has now called for users to ditch the social media platform.

Published onMarch 21, 2018

  • WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has told people to “#deletefacebook” in a recent tweet.
  • The message comes at a time when Facebook is under scrutiny for alleged personal data misuse.
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, making Acton a billionaire.

Brian Acton, one of the co-founders of WhatsApp, has taken to Twitter to call for people to abandon the world’s largest social media platform. In the tweet published yesterday—one of only five Acton has posted in the last eight years—he wrote: “It is time. #deletefacebook.”

WhatsApp now gives you over an hour to delete that message

The motivation behind the comment is unclear, though it arrives at a period when Facebook is under scrutiny regarding the alleged misuse of 50 million users’ private data.

Data analytics firm Cambridge Audio Audio Analytica is at the center of the controversy and is alleged to have been responsible for mass data harvesting using Mark Zuckerberg’s platform—data which reports suggest may have been used to influence the 2016 US Presidential election and UK Brexit vote. Facebook’s shares fell significantly following initial reports on the matter.

It is time. #deletefacebook
— Brian Acton (@brianacton) March 20, 2018

Facebook has been embroiled in a number of alleged data collection and distribution controversies in the last few years, and its news feed is said to have contributed significantly to the recent spread of fake news.

Acton invested $50 million in the Signal Foundation last month, a new venture that will help maintain the encrypted messaging service Signal. In a blog post he penned at the time, Acton wrote:

“As more and more of our lives happen online, data protection and privacy are critical. This isn’t just important for select people in select countries. It’s important for people from all walks of life in every part of the world. Everyone deserves to be protected.”

Though WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook, and stands as a more direct competitor to Signal (a messaging app rather than a social media platform), Acton hasn’t urged users to drop that service.

Acton founded WhatsApp in 2009 with Jan Koum before Facebook purchased the company for $19 billion in 2014. Acton became a billionaire through the deal.