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22 Jun 2024, Edition - 3266, Saturday

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WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton asks students to delete Faceook because it has too much power on people



The dilemma whether to delete Facebook or not continues. And even as the rest of the world grapples to give Facebook another chance (check Facebook’s earnings report for the final quarter of 2018), WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton seems to be in no mood to do so. And in one of the rare public appearances, Acton, while defending his stand to sell his social messaging platform to the Facebook, asked the students at the Stanford University to…guess what?…Delete Facebook!

The 47-year-old Stanford alumni was speaking at Computer Science 181, an undergraduate class at the Stanford University that focuses on the impact and the ethical responsibilities of the tech companies, last week when he explained his decision to sell his company to the social media behemoth for $19 billion.

“You go back to this Silicon Valley culture and people say, ‘Well, could you have not sold?’ and the answer is no,” he said as reported by the BuzzFeed News.

“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 added explaining his decision.

Acton has been a vocal critic of Facebook and its policies for a long time. And last year when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out, he made his feeling apparent by tweeting – “It is time. #deletefacebook.” No tweet, no message followed his tweet and it wasn’t until September 2018 that he finally broke his silence on being acquired by Facebook and on his untimely departure from the social media behemoth. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day,” Acton told the Forbes magazine in an exclusive interview.

Now, while talking to the students at Stanford, Acton not only raised concerns about Facebook, but he also talked about how big tech firms like Apple and Google have struggled to moderate their content. “Apple struggles to decide what’s a good app and what’s a bad app. Google struggles with what’s a good website and what’s a bad website. These companies are not equipped to make these decisions. And we give them the power,” he said.

“That’s the bad part. We buy their products. We sign up for these websites. Delete Facebook, right?,” Acton noted.

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