The world has grown increasingly circumspect about Facebook over its privacy violations, its alleged interference in elections, and its monopolistic tendencies, but Elon Musk has some typically succinct advice about the social media giant.
Elon Musk has asked people to delete their Facebook accounts because “it’s lame.” Musk said as much in a tweet in response to a viral tweet from comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who has acted in movies like Borat and Bruno. “We don’t let 1 person control the water for 2.5 billion people. We don’t let 1 person control electricity for 2.5 billion people. Why do we let 1 man control the information seen by 2.5 billion people. Facebook needs to be regulated by governments, not ruled by an emperor!” he’d tweeted, along with a picture of Mark Zuckerberg posing like Julius Caesar.
#DeleteFacebook It’s lame
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 8, 2020
This isn’t the first time that Musk has expressed his disdain of Facebook. In 2018, after WhatsApp co-f0under Brian Acton had asked people to delete Facebook, Musk had responded to him by saying “What’s Facebook?”. At that point, a Twitter user had pointed out that Tesla and SpaceX had Facebook accounts, Musk had said that they’d be “gone soon.” The very same day, the Facebook accounts of Tesla and SpaceX were deleted, and they remain deleted to this day. Elon Musk doesn’t seem to have a particularly high opinion of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg either — in 2017, after Zuckerberg had said that Musk’s warnings about the risks of AI were “pretty irresponsible”, Musk had retorted by saying that Zuckerberg’s understanding of AI was “limited.”
And Elon Musk isn’t the only person who doesn’t seem to be a fan of Facebook. WhatsApp cofounders Jan Koum and Brian Acton worked with Facebook after it acquired their company, but both appear to have been unhappy with how things worked at Facebook, especially around how it uses user data to show ads. Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest tweet talks more about how Facebook is slowly developing a monopoly of sorts on digital communication — Facebook controls its own platform and Instagram and WhatsApp, but has no government oversight at all over its operations. It can delete user accounts and user content at will, and users have no recourse around going to courts or approaching the government. As such, Facebook has an unbelievable amount of control over speech in the 21st century, and that’s something that doesn’t appear palatable to a large section of people. And Musk has added himself to the list of technologists who seem to encouraging people to reduce their dependence on the social networking giant.