The #DeleteFacebook movement is gaining steam in social media, as Facebook finds itself in a massive scandal after political consulting company Cambridge Analytica acquired personal data from the platform.
Facebook has weathered a variety of challenges in the past, but this is perhaps the most dangerous one of them all for the social network.
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica Scandal Explained
Facebook is under fire for supposedly lax privacy measures that allowed Cambridge Analytica to retain the private data of about 50 million Facebook users that the company acquired in 2015. Cambridge Analytica said that it would delete the data, but apparently broke its promise.
Making matters worse were the release of secretly recorded conversations with Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, who said that the company used "unattributable and untrackable" advertising to be able to push Donald Trump to a win over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential elections.
Facebook responded to the allegations against Cambridge Analytica by suspending the company from using the social network. In an official Facebook Newsroom post, VP & Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal explained that a certain Dr. Aleksandr Kogan violated Facebook's Platform Policies by harvesting data from an online personality quiz that he created on the social network. Kogan then shared the data to Cambridge Analytica, which used the information for its ad-targeting initiatives.
The issue has since escalated considerably, with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission now starting to look into the privacy policies of Facebook.
"Consumers need stronger protections for the digital age such as comprehensive data security and privacy laws, transparency and accountability for data brokers, and rights to and control over their data," said FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny in a statement.
Should You Join The #DeleteFacebook Movement?
As investigations on the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal unfold, users are now really thinking about removing themselves from the social network, spawning the #DeleteFacebook movement.
The method of deleting Facebook accounts requires preparation, as users might not want to lose the content that they have uploaded to the social network. Fortunately, there is an option to download everything from user profiles so no content is lost.
Users may then delete their Facebook account, but it will take 90 days for the stored data in the social network's backup systems to disappear.
There are many benefits to deleting your Facebook account, as listed by Quartz' Sarah Todd, including finding out who your real friends are and acquiring lots of free time.
However, at the end of the day, it is the choice of users whether they want to maintain, deactivate, or delete their Facebook accounts. For those who stay in the social network, they can only hope that Facebook will fix its privacy policies to ensure that their personal information will no longer be used without their knowledge.