WhatsApp Co-Founder Says ‘Delete Facebook’ Despite Platform’s Privacy Overhaul

Acton says that tech’s user data exploitation is prompted by Wall Street-driven profit goals.

WhatsApp co-founder has once again condemned Facebook's privacy policies.
WhatsApp’s co-founder has once again condemned Facebook’s privacy policies. Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

Even Facebook (META)’s beneficiaries aren’t convinced by the platform’s planned turnaround.

One of them being WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who last week spoke to Stanford students about Facebook’s lack of privacy policies, saying now is still the time to “delete Facebook.”

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For context, Acton and his team cashed in on their popular messaging app back in 2014, when Facebook acquired it for $19 billion.

The tech entrepreneur’s appearance at the undergrad class, titled “Computer Science 181,” prompted critical comments about tech’s user data exploitation prompted by Wall Street-driven profit goals.

“The capitalistic profit motive, or answering to Wall Street, is what’s driving the expansion of invasion of data privacy and driving the expansion of a lot of negative outcomes that we’re just not happy with,” Acton told the class. “I wish there were guardrails there. I wish there was ways to rein it in. I have yet to see that manifest, and that scares me.”

At the same time, Acton defended his decision to sell WhatsApp for the benefit of his former employees and investors. This isn’t the first time Acton publicly condemned practices by the company that made him a billionaire. A year ago, he tweeted the popular hashtag #DeleteFacebook just months after leaving the company amid its Cambridge Analytica privacy breach scandal.

Acton’s WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum left his Facebook post shortly after, in April 2018, with reports saying his departure was due to disagreements over Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership style.

The current wave of Facebook criticism comes at a time when Zuckerberg has set forth an overhaul of the company’s privacy policies, including data breaches, the spread of fake news and even revenge porn. Following years of public and media outrage over use of customer data, this month Zuckerberg released Facebook’s new “Private Interactions as a Foundation” strategy. In it, he highlighted several pillars that will help shape the new Facebook, which includes everything from private interactions, encryption and ephemeral messaging.

WhatsApp Co-Founder Says ‘Delete Facebook’ Despite Platform’s Privacy Overhaul