Monday, October 18, 2021

#LogOffFacebook: New campaign seeks to get Facebook users to ‘commit’ to joining group

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BBC.com News

More than six months after Cambridge Analytica scandal first erupted, a new group has launched online, aiming to fill the digital news gap by prompting Facebook users to “commit” to eventually log off the social network.

The group, which used # LogOffFacebook as its Twitter handle, describes itself as “a new technology-driven petition campaign launched today by five UK-based women to prevent Facebook from being used as a political campaign hub by MPs and media organizations.”

“We are asking Facebook users to pledge that they will quit Facebook at some point in the future to ensure that the social network is never used to organize illegal or unethical political campaigns,” they wrote in an email alert sent out on Friday. “People simply need to log off Facebook once their term has expired or until the petition receives at least 50,000 signatures.”

Cambridge Analytica, a firm that represented Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, worked for Brexit-backing Leave.EU, which urged Londoners to support Britain leaving the European Union. This past March, the Trump campaign’s lawyer acknowledged that the group had initially purchased Facebook data from Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee, without the company’s knowledge. When officials at Facebook learned about this, the social network suspended Cambridge Analytica and also sued the British political consulting firm.

#logofffacebook movement comes as Facebook is facing increasing scrutiny from politicians in the US and Europe over alleged privacy abuses.

“Excluding a small number of updates, Facebook was used in at least 1,100 Brexit campaigns in 2017 alone,” the women behind the initiative wrote in the email alert. “Facebook will not allow you to decide when your term as a user expires. We therefore encourage Facebook users to #logofffacebook to have the last word in this crucial case.”

We asked Facebook for comment, but it declined to offer any.

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