In an announcement to his 5.6 million followers on Twitter, author Stephen King has stated he is quitting Facebook, citing privacy concerns.
“I’m quitting Facebook,” he posted.
“Not comfortable with the flood of false information that’s allowed in its political advertising, nor am I confident in its ability to protect its users’ privacy.”
I'm quitting Facebook. Not comfortable with the flood of false information that's allowed in its political advertising, nor am I confident in its ability to protect its users' privacy. Follow me (and Molly, aka The Thing of Evil) on Twitter, if you like.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 1, 2020
Instead, King urged people to “follow me on Twitter, if you like”.
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Facebook’s privacy issue
Facebook’s biggest privacy breach was reported in March last year, when a whistleblower revealed Cambridge Analytica had improperly harvested the personal Facebook data of 50 million people in order to profile them and target them for political advertisements.
That event caused Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, to delete his Facebook account entirely.
In July last year, Wozniak told reporters that people “should figure out a way to get off Facebook” due to the way it harvests personal data.
Facebook’s political ad controversy
King also said he wasn’t “comfortable” with Facebook’s policy on political advertising.
In November last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the site does not fact-check political ads.
“We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” he told Georgetown University. “And if content is newsworthy, we also won’t take it down even if it would otherwise conflict with many of our standards.”
Facebook stated its approach was “grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression” and “respect for the democratic process”.
But critics aren’t convinced.
Facebook employees wrote a letter to Zuckerberg stating that its current policy on fact-checking political ads was instead propelling the spread of misinformation, and allowed politicians to “weaponise” the platform.
“Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing,” they wrote.
Twitter bans political ads
Facebook’s decision to keep political ads followed Twitter’s announcement that it would ban them all.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated: “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message should be earned, not bought.”
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