Winning back the trust of users could be difficult for Facebook in the wake of its data scandal as more influential business leaders and celebrities speak out against the world’s most popular social network.
Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Facebook on Wednesday saying he would not be in the position that fellow Silicon Valley chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has found himself in.
In an interview with news agencies Recode and MSNBC, Cook said Facebook and others should have curbed their use of personal data to build “detailed profiles of people … patched together from several sources.”
“I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation,” he said. “However, I think we’re beyond that here.”
Cook’s comments come as more influential business figures and celebrities publicized plans to quit Facebook.
Last week, another high-profile tech CEO, Elon Musk, deleted Facebook accounts for his companies Tesla and SpaceX’s after messaging system WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton pushed for a movement to boycott the social network. WhatsApp was bought by Facebook four years ago for $19 billion US.
Yesterday, Cooper Hefner, the son of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, said on Twitter the magazine and its digital business would quit Facebook because its policies were “contradicting Playboy’s values.”
We are stepping away from Facebook <a href=”https://t.co/4yFIdk2eDE”>pic.twitter.com/4yFIdk2eDE</a>
Earlier this week, comedian Will Farrell wrote a lengthy post on the social network, explaining his decision to delete his account after 72 hours.
“I am not deleting it immediately, in order to give this message enough time to get across to my fans and followers,” he said.
“I can no longer, in good conscience, use the services of a company that allowed the spread of propaganda and directly aimed it at those most vulnerable.”
The post has been shared over 6,000 times and reacted to with Facebook emoticons by 56,000 users.
Other notable celebrities who have quit Facebook in wake of the scandal include singer Cher and actor Jim Carrey.
New Zealand’s privacy commissioner, John Edwards, led by example after criticizing Facebook for breaching the country’s privacy laws by deleting his own account on Wednesday.
Backlash to continue
Meanwhile, some notable businesses that have pulled advertising from the network include Internet firm Mozilla, computer electronics company Sonos, auto parts retailer Pep Boys and one of Germany’s biggest lenders — Commerzbank.
The growing user backlash against Facebook also comes as government regulatory pressures mount, forcing the company to introduce new measures to protect users’ data.
Facebook announced yesterday that it was cutting ties with several large data brokers that help advertisers target people on the website.
Daniel Ives, head of technology research at market research firm GBH Insights said he expects the backlash against Facebook with more notable business leaders like Cook and other celebrities to continue for the coming weeks.
“It remains a black cloud over Facebook’s story,” he said. “There is clear frustration and bewilderment post the Cambridge debacle and its sent a ripple effect across Silicon Valley, the Beltway (Washington, D.C.), and the EU.”
In terms of deleting accounts, Ives said there is a risk that two to three per cent of the company’s two billion users could significantly lower engagement or delete accounts over the next six to 12 months.
But given how engrained Facebook has become in many people’s lives, he believes that with deleting accounts, “the bark will ultimately be worse than the bite.”