Almost exactly one year ago, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton publicly called on users to delete Facebook. Now, Acton is renewing that call, while also criticizing companies like Apple for certain privacy and moderation stances.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a hefty $16 billion in 2014, bringing co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton onboard in the process. Acton, however, left the company in 2017 due to growing tension between WhatsApp and Facebook leadership.
As reported by BuzzFeed News, Acton last week spoke during an undergraduate computer science class at Stanford University alongside former Facebook employee and She++ founder Ellora Israni.
Acton talked about the corporate relationships between technology companies, such as Apple and Facebook, and foreign countries like China. Apple, for instance, has complied with Chinese government requests to store user data on local data servers. “I think that a lot of these corporate decisions are made arbitrarily and capriciously,” Acton said.
Speaking on the topic of moderating content, Acton said companies like Google, Apple, and Twitter struggle to identify “what’s hate speech and what’s not hate speech,” among other things. Specifically, Acton questioned Apple’s moderation policies in the App Store:
“To be brutally honest, the curated networks — the open networks — struggle to decide what’s hate speech and what’s not hate speech. … Apple struggles to decide what’s a good app and what’s a bad app. Google struggles with what’s a good website and what’s a bad website. These companies are not equipped to make these decisions.”
Acton also noted that despite these companies not being “equipped” to make such decisions, users give them the power to do just that:
“And we give them the power,” he continued. “That’s the bad part. We buy their products. We sign up for these websites. Delete Facebook, right?”
Read the full report over at BuzzFeed News.
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