While responding to posts on Twitter, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX apparently decided to take down the pages, joining an online movement calling for Facebook users to sever their ties to the social media giant.
To the delight of many of his Twitter followers, Tesla and SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk on Friday followed through on a promise to delete the Facebook pages of both companies, flushing more than 5 million combined “likes” down the digital drain on a whim.
The Facebook pages for the automaker and aerospace innovator have been replaced by a default page noting that “content isn’t available right now.”
Musk apparently decided to take down the pages while responding to posts on Twitter, including one from Brian Acton, the co-founder of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp. Acton’s tweet included the hashtag #deletefacebook.
That exchange led to a dare, as well as the revelation that Musk was unaware his aerospace company had a Facebook page tweeting:
“I didn’t realize there was one. Will do.”
It didn’t take long for Musk to go on to delete Tesla’s Facebook page, noting that the page “looks lame anyway.”
By deleting (or ordering someone else to do so) his company’s Facebook pages, Musk joined an online movement calling for Facebook users to sever their ties to the social media giant. The movement began with the revelation that Cambridge Analytica – a political marketing firm that worked with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign – improperly harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users, raising new questions about the network’s ability to protect user data.
SpaceX and Tesla have not disappeared from social media entirely. Accounts for both companies remain active on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
“Instagram’s probably ok imo, so long as it stays fairly independent,” Musk wrote on Twitter after calls for him to delete Tesla and SpaceX accounts on Instagram mounted Friday. “I don’t use FB & never have, so don’t think I’m some kind of martyr or my companies are taking a huge blow.”
“Also,” he added, “we don’t advertise or pay for endorsements, so . . . don’t care.”
Musk is the highest-profile tech figure to join people who are expunging Facebook from their lives after it was revealed a firm that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had kept data from 50 million Facebook users even after telling the company it had destroyed the information. Facebook Inc. shares fell 1.1 percent to $163.10 at 1:31 p.m. Friday in New York and have slumped almost 12 percent since the revelation, and lawmakers are calling on Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress.
It’s not the first time Musk has sparred with the social-media giant. Last year, Zuckerberg criticized Musk’s pessimistic view that artificial intelligence is a threat to humanity. “I just don’t understand it,” Zuckerberg said last August. “It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”
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Musk responded, writing on Twitter: “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”
In 2016, a SpaceX rocket carrying a Facebook satellite exploded after launch. “I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook.
Friday, Musk also made fun of Sonos for not being as committed as he was to the anti-Facebook cause after the connected-speaker maker said it would pull ads from the platform — but only for a week.
“Wow, a whole week. Risky…” Musk tweeted.
Information from Bloomberg News was included in this report.