IN THE IMMEDIATE aftermath of that whole Cambridge Analytica blooper, Brian Acton - formerly a Facebook employee after selling his terribly name messenger service WhatsApp to Mark Zuckerberg years earlier - called on his Twitter followers to delete Facebook. Or more specifically, he told them to #deletefacebook, because why use full sentences when a hashtag will suffice?
Any fleeting hope that Acton had been meaning to search for Tottenham star Dele Alli's Facebook account, slipped, and made a typo in the wrong browser window were laid to rest last week when he repeated the message to students at his alma mater, Stanford University.
The point was made in a section of the talk where Acton was discussing the difficulty that tech giants such as Facebook, Apple and Google have in moderating content.
"These companies are not equipped to make these decisions," he said in comments quoted by Buzzfeed. "And we give them the power. That's the bad part. We buy their products. We sign up for these websites. Delete Facebook, right?"
But perhaps more revealing was the lengths Acton went to justify selling out to a company he clearly dislikes in the first place. "You go back to this Silicon Valley culture and people say, ‘Well, could you have not sold?' and the answer is no," Acton said.
"I had 50 employees, and I had to think about them and the money they would make from this sale. I had to think about our investors and I had to think about my minority stake. I didn't have the full clout to say no if I wanted to," he said.
Given Acton sold WhatsApp for $19bn back in 2014, it's probably not a decision that keeps him awake at night. And if it does, he should definitely spend some of that money on some fancy new pillows and sheets. µ
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