After making a fortune selling out to Facebook, WhatsApp’s co-founder is now urging everyone to delete the social network
Following the news that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has called for everyone to delete the social network.
On Tuesday evening, Acton posted to Twitter simply saying “It is time” accompanied by the hashtag #deletefacebook.
What makes Acton’s opinion more interesting than your average commentator’s hot take is that Facebook made him extremely wealthy when it bought WhatsApp back for $19bn in 2014. Acton carried on working for the messaging app until last September, when he announced he was leaving to set up a foundation.
Despite calling for a mass Facebook exodus, it’s unclear what Acton’s feelings are towards WhatsApp since leaving.
However, last month, along with Moxie Marlinspike, the WhatsApp co-founder unveiled the Signal Foundation, which supports rival messaging app Signal. The company announced an initial $50 million investment from Acton, who claims the foundation’s goal is to create “open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication.”
“Everyone deserves to be protected,” the WhatsApp co-founder says. “We created the Signal Foundation in response to this global need. Our plan is to pioneer a new model of technology nonprofit focused on privacy and data protection for everyone, everywhere.”
It’s clear, especially in light of the Cambridge Analytica controversy, that this is a very different organisation to Facebook.
“We believe there is an opportunity to act in the public interest and make a meaningful contribution to society by building sustainable technology that respects users and does not rely on the commoditisation of personal data,” explains Acton.
Since whistleblower Christopher Wylie leaked details about the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the New York Times and Observer, Facebook’s market value has fallen by more than $40bn. As the BBC reports, the company’s stock closed 2.6% down on Tuesday, following a sharp fall the day before.