The #DeleteFacebook movement is putting its money where its mouth is. Since the company’s recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s stock has plunged 18 percent — decimating about $80 billion from the company’s total market value, according to a couple of analyses.
The nosedive comes after Facebook admitted that Cambridge Analytica, a firm that worked on behalf of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, misused personal information gathered on the social network to target U.S. voters. Since then, the company has seen a barrage of criticism for its failure to protect user data.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk-run companies Tesla and SpaceX have deleted Facebook pages, as has Playboy over privacy concerns.
Even before the Cambridge Analytica revelations, Facebook was in hot water for allowing its ad network to be exploited by Russian agencies during the 2016 presidential election.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed that his company would “learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward” days after the scandal broke. CNN Money estimates that Zuckerberg’s own net worth has fallen by about $14 billion. The 33-year-old is still worth well over $60 billion.
But some major companies aren’t buying Zuckerberg’s assurances. And the more that delete their pages and disengage with the platform, the more its engagement rates decrease. As that happens, so does overall ad revenue.
“The recent news about Facebook’s alleged mismanagement of users’ data has solidified our decision to suspend our activity on the platform at this time,” reads a statement from Playboy, which deleted its page on Wednesday. “There are more than 25 million fans who engage with Playboy via our various Facebook pages, and we do not want to be complicit in exposing them to the reported practices.”
The social media platform is dealing with more than just decreased user engagement and stock loss — it’s also facing a host of legal and regulatory issues. The Federal Trade Commission confirmed earlier this week that Facebook is under investigation for the possible misuse of the personal information of as many as 50 million of its users.
Zuckerberg told CNN last week that he is “not sure” whether Facebook should be regulated. “I actually think the question is more, what is the right regulation rather than ‘Yes or no, should it be regulated?’ ” he said.
The CEO also said that he is “sure someone’s trying” to use the platform to interfere with U.S. midterm elections and that the company is trying to prevent that with new transparency measures.
“Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data,” Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan and Deputy General Counsel Ashlie Beringer said in a statement. “We’re taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy.”
These changes have made it simpler for Facebook users to see what information they’ve shared with the platform, but it is clear that the company hasn’t mollified its content creators or investors.