On 1st February 2020, popular novelist Stephen King said he is leaving Facebook. The writer posted the news on Twitter stating that the platform’s stance on political issues was making him leave.
Stephen King who had written books like The Shining and It, tweeted:
I’m quitting Facebook. Not comfortable with the flood of false information that’s allowed in its political advertising, nor am I confident in its ability to protect its users’ privacy. Follow me (and Molly, aka The Thing of Evil) on Twitter, if you like.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 1, 2020
He also mentioned that he doubted its users’ protection protocols. According to a BBC report, other celebrities like Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, comedian Will Ferrell, musician Cher and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will also quit the service.
Even Jim Carrey, who had stocks in Facebook sold them and left in 2018. He revealed that the company had profited from Russian interference in the 2016 US election and it didn’t seat well with him.
Will these high-profile movements spark a mass exodus from Facebook?
It remains to be seen what the effect of popular people leaving Facebook will have on the number of users the service has. However, one can surmise that Facebook is definitely not having a lot of users as it used to.
For example, Facebook used to have about 2.32 billion users in 2018 while it had 2.45 billion in 2019, as Statistica published. While one might point out that there is an increase, the difference shows that many are leaving as more are coming in.
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According to an article on CNet, in 2019 Facebook lost 15 million users in the US alone. But since this number has a significantly higher percentage of young people, it may be more because of content than security issues.
However, many experts keep fingering the social media company for privacy issues. It has numerous court cases and reports seem to emerge every few weeks that it had paid some huge sum of money to settle out of court.
What is Mark Zuckerberg doing in the face of these challenges?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is by no means ignorant of these issues. The company tries to settle security fears by providing information on privacy rights and all. It is, however, clear that it is not winning users over.
USA Today reports that Zuckerberg no longer wants people to like him. He instead wants to be clearly understood. He said:
“In order to be trusted, people need to know what you stand for. These positions aren’t always going to be popular, but I think it’s important for us to take these debates [head-on].
I know there are a lot of people who agree with these principles, and there are a lot more who are open to them and want to see these arguments get made. So expect more of that this year.”
One major issue that people have reacted negatively to besides Facebook’s security issue is its allowing political ads. It had stated that it would not fact-check the ads put out for truthfulness.
The question about if there will be a mass Facebook exodus soon will only be answered correctly when it happens. For now, Stephen King is the latest celebrity to leave Facebook.
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