As foolish as it may sound, Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on Friday deleted the Facebook pages of both companies as promised, flushing more than 5 million combined likes. Both of the Facebook pages of the automaker and aerospace innovator have been replaced by a default page saying “Content isn’t available right now.”
Musk took the decision after a conversation followed between him and the Brian Acton, the co-founder of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp. Acton’s tweet included the hashtag #DeleteFacebook.
The 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.”