The Industry

From Cher to Tesla, the Celebrities and Companies That Have Deleted Facebook

This photo illustration taken on March 27, 2018, shows apps for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks on a smartphone in the Indian capital New Delhi. 
        India's ruling and main opposition parties on March 26 accused each other of using social media dirty tricks to mine and share followers' personal data. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party of Rahul Gandhi have seized upon the data breach storm surrounding Facebook and other media to score political points against one another. / AFP PHOTO / CHANDAN KHANNA        (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo illustration taken on Tuesday shows an option to delete the Facebook app on a smartphone.
CHANDAN KHANNA/Getty Images

When news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a political-data firm that worked on the Trump campaign, harvested data from 50 million Facebook users without their consent, it didn’t take long for livid Facebook users to launch a social media movement, urging people to delete their accounts. That may not be the most effective thing they can do to challenge the company’s practices, but it certainly has become a popular one: The hashtag #DeleteFacebook was trending on Twitter in the wake of the scandal, and the New York Times reported it was mentioned more than 40,000 times on March 20*, four days after Facebook copped to the scandal. Calls to delete Facebook have gained momentum among a number of celebrities and high-profile companies, which have halted their activity on the social network or suspended their advertising.

Here’s a list of stars, firms, and, well, pornographic magazines that have cut ties with the beleaguered social network.

Cher

One of the first deserters was singer and actress Cher, who tweeted on March 20 that, although the decision was “very hard,” she was deleting the account that helped her promote her charity and connect with fans around the world. Cher’s official Facebook page is still active, but she may have been referring to her personal account.

Mozilla

The maker of popular web browser Firefox said in a blog post on March 21 that it is “pressing pause” on its Facebook advertising but left open the possibility of returning if Facebook could better protect its users’ data.

“We are encouraged that Mark Zuckerberg has promised to improve the privacy settings and make them more protective,” the company said. “When Facebook takes stronger action in how it shares customer data, specifically strengthening its default privacy settings for third party apps, we’ll consider returning.”

In the meantime, Mozilla launched a new Firefox browser extension called “Facebook Container,” which isolates users’ identities from the rest of the web, blocking Facebook’s ability to track activities on other websites that have integrated with the social network.

Massive Attack

The British trip-hop duo temporarily left the social platform on March 21 and encouraged fans to follow them on Twitter or visit their official website to connect moving forward. The news was shared in a Facebook post before the account was deleted, and again on Twitter.

“In light of Facebook’s continued disregard for your privacy, their lack of transparency, and disregard for accountability, Massive Attack will be temporarily withdrawing from Facebook,” the message said. “We sincerely hope they change their policies around these issues.”

Commerzbank

Germany’s second-largest bank said it would halt its advertising on Facebook until further notice, according to Reuters. The bank’s head of brand strategy, Uwe Hellmann, told a German newspaper the company would wait for further details before deciding how to proceed.

“We are pausing our campaign on Facebook. Brand safety and data security are very important to us,” Hellmann said.

Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk deleted both his companies’ Facebook pages (which he apparently didn’t even know existed) in a tweetstorm Friday after being challenged to do so by his followers.

Musk has not confirmed that deleting the accounts was directly tied to Cambridge Analytica revelations, but the challenge arose on the heels of the scandal when Brian Acton, co-founder of Facebook-owned WhatsApp, tweeted the hashtag #DeleteFacebook.

One of Musk’s followers dared him to delete the SpaceX Facebook page, and the tech guru responded, “I didn’t realize there was one. Will do.” When another follower sent him a screenshot of Tesla’s page, that one was quickly deleted too.

The Verge reported that each account had more than 2 million followers, but, as Musk said, the move is a low-risk maneuver for the businessman, who does not advertise or pay for endorsements on the platform.

Accounts for Tesla and SpaceX are both still alive on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Sonos

The electronics manufacturer began a weeklong social media boycott Monday when it pulled ads from not only Facebook, but Instagram, Google, YouTube, and Twitter. In addition, the company is halting its activity on Facebook and Instagram this week “in solidarity with those seeking to build a healthier, more consumer-friendly tech ecosystem.”

The company donated the money it would have spent on the week’s advertising to Access Now, a nonprofit dedicated to defending users’ digital rights around the world.

In a blog post, Sonos said it would not permanently leave Facebook because it remains a powerful and effective tool in reaching customers and sharing the company’s message.

Pep Boys

On Monday, the auto-parts retailer said it would join the growing number of businesses suspending Facebook advertising. The company did not specify if or when it would resume.

A Pep Boys spokesman told Reuters, “We are concerned about the issues surrounding Facebook and have decided to suspend all media on the platform until the facts are out and corrective actions have been taken.”

Will Ferrell

The actor and comedian announced Tuesday he would delete his account in 72 hours after learning of Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook users’ information. In a Facebook post, which has more than 50,000 reactions, the Anchorman star said he was appalled at Facebook’s response to the scandal, which was simply to suspend the account of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower.

“I can no longer, in good conscience, use the services of a company that allowed the spread of propaganda and directly aimed it at those most vulnerable,” he said. “I love my fans and hope to further interact with them through my comedy via the mediums of film and television.”

Playboy

The iconic adult magazine said in a statement Wednesday that it would suspend all its Facebook activity, citing privacy concerns and sexual repression.

“For years, it has been difficult for Playboy to express our values on Facebook due to its strict content and policy guidelines.” the statement said. “Playboy has always stood for personal freedom and the celebration of sex. Today we take another step in that ongoing fight.”

Playboy’s chief creative officer Cooper Hefner, son of the late Hugh Hefner, reinforced the official company statement on Twitter, saying the revelations of data mismanagement solidified the decision to leave.

*Correction, March 29, 2018: This piece originally misidentified the number of times the #DeleteFacebook hashtag was mentioned on March 20. According to the New York Times, it was used more than 40,000 times, not more than 40 million times.