Brussels, 9 April 2018 – In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a handful of concerned citizens from Europe, North and Central America have launched #faceblock – a day of online protest to coincide with Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee on 11 April.
Laura Ullmann, one of the activists, said: “I was struck by the revelations surrounding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, and how exposed we all are. Although deleting Facebook can be appropriate for some, not everyone has the privilege to do so. Individuals shouldn’t be forced to look out for themselves when the problem comes from the way the system is set up.”
She continued: “Facebook must be held accountable for its irresponsible practices and governments across the world have the duty to protect our data and democracies. By turning off Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram for one day, people are sending them the powerful message that they demand change.”
The recent revelations around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandals have raised concern over data gathering and (mis)use to a new level. They show the extent to which personal information is being collected and potentially used to engineer elections around the world. Regardless of the legal outcomes, there will be lasting political impacts as the legitimacy of important – supposedly democratic – votes have been called into question and this cannot be undone.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have made apologetic statements and promises, but this is not good enough. Facebook has admitted that it is likely that all users have had their data scraped – that means that 2 billion of us could have been exposed.
Many people rely on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to connect with friends and family, and others rely on it for community organising. These people may not be in a position to give up services that hold monopoly control in their markets. To provide an alternative way of protesting and demanding change, the #Faceblock event organisers are calling for a one day boycott of Facebook and its services on 11 April.
People can participate in #faceblock by joining the facebook event and sending their own messages to Mark Zuckerberg and their governments.