Steve Wozniak Bids Facebook Goodbye, Deactivates Account

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak announced that he has quit Facebook after deactivating his account on Sunday. He cited growing concern for the lack of privacy and security on the social media platform in the wake of its recent scandal.

He hopes that his departure from Facebook will encourage others to follow suit and rethink how users share information on social media. Wozniak said that it was unethical for Internet companies to monitor and sell its users’ personal data.

“If you post something and I click 'Like,' it’s sort of my inside feeling, I have a commonality with you, and maybe you will even see my ‘Like’ and know we are friends. You know what, it’s being sold to an advertiser. I’m sorry that’s not ethical,” he told USA Today on Monday.

His concern wasn’t unwarranted. Cambridge Analytica, a London-based data firm, had improperly obtained access to data of about 87 million Facebook users without them knowing. The information was collected through a personality app that also had access to friends of those who answered the quiz. In response to the crisis, Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica and has suspended two other data firms.  

Users have come to realize that personal data might not be as private as they think it is. In the case of Facebook, the social media giant earns from targeted advertising based on its users’ information. Tech companies have the responsibility to respect and protect the privacy of its users, Wozniak emphasized.

On this note, the tech pioneer praised Apple for its privacy standards. “Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you. As they say, with Facebook, you are the product,” Wozniak pointed out. And as the founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group for digital rights, he also encouraged users to scrutinize what’s inside Facebook.  

Wozniak pointed out that he’s willing to pay the price for privacy, but admitted that it might not be a viable solution. Moreover, he’s not hopeful for any swift changes after the Congressional hearings where Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify.

“Facebook will come out and say, ‘Oh, we are going to do this little one extra thing to protect your privacy. But really, they are advertising you. You are the product with Facebook— and Google,” Wozniak dismissed.

[Featured image via YouTube]
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