San Francisco, March 21 (IANS): Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, late on Tuesday asked users to “delete” the social media platform, Facebook, amid alleged data leakage of its users for political purposes. “It is time. #deletefacebook,” Brian Acton tweeted to more than 23,000 of his followers. WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014.
Facebook is facing a major backlash after reports emerged that the political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, accessed the data of its 50 million users without their permission. The company received the user data from a Facebook app years ago that purported to be a psychological research tool, however, the firm was not authorised to have that information.
Earlier on Tuesday, UK’s data protection watchdog sought a court warrant to search the London headquarters of the political data analytics consultancy that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and allegedly harvested Facebook profiles of US voters to influence their choices at the ballot box. The UK Information Commissioner also ordered the auditors hired by Facebook to stand down when they visited the Cambridge Analytica headquarters.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from the US and the UK have called for action following the reports of the data leak of the Facebook users.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 but Acton remained with the company for several years before quitting to start “Signal Foundation” earlier in 2018. Last month, he invested $50 million into “Signal”, an independent alternative to hugely-popular WhatsApp. Another WhatsApp co-founder, Jan Koum, still leads the company and sits on Facebook’s board.