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#DeleteFacebook trends in response to Cambridge Analytica

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“We all moved on from MySpace. We can move on from Facebook too.”

This was a typical message found on Twitter in the wake of accusations over Cambridge Analytica using personal data from 50 million Facebook users to influence the US presidential election in 2016.

After reports of Cambridge Analytica using Facebook’s user information came to light, people began to urge others to either #DeleteFacebook or #BoycottFacebook in response.

Skip Twitter post by @ecarpen

Finally deleted my @facebook account. If you’re angry about what facebook has done with our data then just #deletefacebook We all moved on from MySpace we can move on from facebook too. Remember we aren’t the customers we are the product #CambridgeAnalytica

— Eric (@ecarpen) March 17, 2018

End of Twitter post by @ecarpen

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The #DeleteFacebook hashtag appeared to gain traction after one Twitter user quoted a BBC Stories tweet from 2017 – an interview with Theresa Wong about Cambridge Analytica, originally broadcast on BBC Two in the series Secrets of Silicon Valley.

Four quotes were taken from the interview to infer Facebook’s role in Donald Trump’s 2016 US election victory, such as “Facebook was our hands-on partner,” and “Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won,” coupled with the call to #DeleteFacebook in response.

Skip Twitter post by @TedGrunewald

“Facebook was our hands-on partners.”

“Without Facebook, we wouldn’t have won.”

“Facebook really and truly put us over the edge.”

“Facebook was *the* medium that proved most successful for this [Trump] campaign.”

— Theodore Grunewald (@TedGrunewald) March 17, 2018

End of Twitter post by @TedGrunewald

This seemed to be the starting point for people to begin expressing their desire to leave Facebook, with blink-182’s Mark Hoppus amassing over 6,000 likes in 24 hours for simply tweeting the words “Delete Facebook”.

But the irony of using one social media account to decry another was not lost on some people.

One comment on a Reddit thread about the #DeleteFacebook movement joked “the rally cry to delete from Facebook is now trending as a hashtag on Twitter – another social media site that gathers data on users”.

And a person on Twitter suggested because Instagram is owned by Facebook, “if you delete one, you gotta delete the other”.

Neither Twitter nor Instagram are accused of using personal data in a similar way to the dispute concerning Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, although one person suggested an extreme approach to data security as the solution.

Skip Twitter post by @SonnyBunch

If you are worried about companies using data to target you, then you need to delete your Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and stop buying things from Amazon and stop searching with Google and cancel all your credit cards and stop donating to charity and cancel mag

— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) March 19, 2018

End of Twitter post by @SonnyBunch

A spokeswoman for Privacy International warned that privacy concerns extend beyond Facebook as “your data is being exploited all the time”.

A person on the technology subsection of Reddit agreed, saying removing Facebook “doesn’t solve the long term problem [because] consent to data use is very weakly protected online right now”.

And one Twitter user seeking regulation of Facebook said having the ability to delete an account is “a privilege”.

Skip Twitter post by @sheeraf

If you want to delete Facebook, go ahead. Just know that’s a privilege.

For much of the world, Facebook is the internet and only way to connect to family/friend/business. That’s why its important to have a real discussion re Facebook’s security/privacy issues.

— Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) March 18, 2018

End of Twitter post by @sheeraf

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