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Clash of the Tech Titans: Elon Musk Joins #deletefacebook, Zuckerberg’s Net Worth Plummets

After the shocking news of the massive leak of personal data by Facebook, Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton’s #deletefacebook twitter campaign has since reached critical mass. Initiated as an act to protest the apparent disregard by Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook for the security of user data, #deletefacebook aims to initiate a mass boycott of the platform.

About a week ago, a whistleblower from Cambridge Analytica, the eponymous firm behind the scandal, revealed that it had exploited the lax security features of Facebook. Cambridge Analytica had utilised the app of a Cambridge Psychology Professor, Aleksandr Kogan, as a front to gain access to hundreds of thousands of users. Facebook’s policies had allowed individual users to grant permissions to app developers to access not only their personal data, but also the data of their Facebook friends.

While that might have been common knowledge, this saga had revealed the possibility of personal information falling into the wrong hands – Cambridge Analytica had utilised Kogan’s app to access around 270,000 user accounts. Through these, the firm was able to access the data of 230 million American voters. It then emerged that this wealth of personal data had been used to generate targetted, personalised campaign advertisements by then-candidate Donald Trump through campaign advisor Steve Bannon, who had earlier been vice president and secretary at the firm. It had also been key to generating key slogans like “Drain the Swamp”.

Elon Musk, international champion for technology, joins the #deletefacebook movement. Image: Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

Enter Elon Musk. Just hours ago, the billionaire entrepreneur behind the likes of tech giants PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and Hyperloop. Popular for his candid social media presence, Musk’s fans had suggested he get on board the #deletefacebook campaign – to which he gladly obliged.

In response to a query, if he would delete the Facebook account for his headline firm SpaceX, Elon Musk succinctly responded on Friday: “Will do.”

Elon Musk’s distaste for the platform came through, clearly – he “didn’t realise there was one”, referring to the SpaceX Facebook account, and dismissively noted that the Tesla Facebook account looked “lame anyway”.

Elon Musk’s well-received candour on his other social media accounts, however, should last at least a while longer, as he acknowledged that although Instagram too is owned by Facebook, it had been relatively “independent”.

Twitter had been the billionaire’s medium of choice for a long time running. Be it a limited edition run of flamethrower, or announcements sharing news of the success of his ventures in electric motoring or rocketry, Elon Musk had taken to frankness in his presence through his responses to questions on Twitter.

Zuckerberg, on the other hand, had been called out by media outlets and activitists for his lack of response during the crisis. Five days later, he released a statement on the platform. Zuckerberg said via statement on Facebook on Thursday, “we have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you”.

Still, Facebook’s stock had plummeted 14 percent, and his net worth had decreased by USD10 billion in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that started a week ago. As the majority shareholder, his 393.1 million shares of the company had plummeted in value, dropping him from 5th to the 7th place in Forbe’s billionaire rankings. Facebook’s shares had traded upwards of USD180 per share at the start of 2018.

Ian Ling
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

One thought on “Clash of the Tech Titans: Elon Musk Joins #deletefacebook, Zuckerberg’s Net Worth Plummets

  1. Brian

    I have never gotten why people would use a service like facebook and others, i mean come on, looking back ( and i have a long way to look ) there have never been a problem with keeping your friends informed about your comings and goings.
    And with the internet it became even more easy ( still not using services like that )

    The few people i know that do use silly stuff like that have explicit orders not to mention me there or post picture / video with me in it on those sites.

    #neverbeenonfacebook #neverbeenontwitter #myfreidsarefewbuttheyarerealfriends

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