The hashtag #DeleteFacebook is trending, after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica bought data harvested from 50 million Facebook users and used it to target voters during the 2016 US presidential election.
The data mining was revealed on Saturday by the Observer, which found that the firm – which worked with Donald Trump’s election team – bought the harvested data from a company called Global Science Research. Cambridge Analytica has denied knowing the data was improperly obtained.
Facebook users weren’t exactly thrilled to find out that they had been analyzed in such a way. They’ve now taken to Twitter to express their anger under the hashtag #DeleteFacebook. The campaign is calling for users to unsubscribe from everything related to Facebook, including Instagram and WhatsApp.
Stock market trader and political analyst @Ian56789 accused Facebook of being “part of the Big Brother system of control,” while referencing George Orwell’s novel ‘1984.’ He added that it sells data to governments and corporations, manipulates what see and don’t see online, and “even tries to manipulate your current mood.”
Facebook is part of the Big Brother system of control – see Orwell's 1984.
It sells all of your personal data to Governments & Corporations.
It manipulates and censors what you can see and what you don't see online.
It even tries to manipulate your current mood.#DeleteFacebook pic.twitter.com/OFrIX3MYLI
— Ian56 (@Ian56789) March 20, 2018
Author and physician Rachel Clarke took to Twitter to deliver a reversed version of the age-old break-up line to Facebook. “It’s not me, it’s you. Goodbye,” she wrote.
Stand-up comedian Joe Heenan brought a bit of humor to the situation, saying that deleting Facebook would take away his ability to see “racist comments” from people he hated in high school.
I’d love to but how will I find out if it’s snowing?
How will I see racist comments from people from High school that I hated?
Where else will I be able to take a quiz that’ll tell me what character I would be from Are You Being Served?
— joe heenan (@joeheenan) March 20, 2018
Meanwhile, Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of the Music Venue Trust in the UK, noted the irony of #DeleteFacebook trending on Twitter. In true music industry fashion, he highlighted that irony by including a screenshot from the music video of Alanis Morissette’s smash 1996 hit ‘Ironic.’
— Mark Davyd (@markdavyd) March 20, 2018
Others took the opportunity to share their experience with deleting Facebook, encouraging others to do the same. “I deleted Facebook New Year‘s Eve 2014. It was the best decision I’ve made and I can safely say I do not miss it. Life is so much better without it,” Twitter user @CEdwardsEsq wrote.
“I deleted my Facebook account over a year ago and noticed a very real drop in anxiety. I…hadn’t realised how deeply entrenched I had become in what is essentially an addictive game with shit graphics,” Twitter user Kavus Torabi wrote.
I deleted my Facebook account over a year ago and noticed a very real drop in anxiety. I have never been a particularly anxious person and until then, hadn't realised how deeply entrenched I had become in what is essentially an addictive game with shit graphics. #DeleteFacebook
— Kavus Torabi (@Knifeworld) March 20, 2018
However, journalist and author Fabio Chiusi was less optimistic about the effect of deleting Facebook. “#DeleteFacebook if you wish, but please don’t pretend this is a solution to surveillance capitalism. What we need is a restructuring of the data economy, not opening up a market for the next Facebook – which, btw, will be as bad, without changing the rules of the game.”
#Deletefacebook if you wish, but please don’t pretend this is a solution to surveillance capitalism.
What we need is a total restructuring of the data economy, not opening up a market for the next Facebook – which, btw, will be as bad, without changing the rules of the game.
— Fabio Chiusi (@fabiochiusi) March 19, 2018
Whether those who are deleting their Facebook accounts will stick to their commitment over the long-term remains unknown. For many, the desire to receive Happy Birthday messages from people they never speak to may prove to be too strong.
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to remain silent while the company deals with a 6.77 percent drop in shares as a result of the breach. The drop knocked $36 billion off the company’s valuation, and $5.5 billion off Zuckerberg’s personal fortune, according to Forbes’ live tracker of the world’s wealthiest people.