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Why Elon Musk Urges: Delete Facebook and Review Privacy Settings

Published on: November 20 2023 by DB Business

Why Elon Musk Urges: Delete Facebook and Review Privacy Settings

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Elon Musk's Criticism of Facebook
  3. Meta's Privacy Policy Update
  4. Changes in WhatsApp and Facebook's Terms of Service
  5. Simplification of Privacy Policy
  6. Lack of Opt-out Option
  7. Impact of Apple on Facebook's Policies
  8. Facebook's Transparency Efforts
  9. Privacy Concerns and Criticisms
  10. Musk's Objection to Data Selling
  11. WhatsApp's Privacy Policy Change
  12. Musk's Recommendation: Signal and Telegram
  13. Impact of Musk's Tweet
  14. Conclusion


Elon Musk's Criticism of Facebook

In recent years, there has been a well-known story surrounding the rocky relationship between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. This relationship became even more strained after a SpaceX rocket explosion in 2016 destroyed a major Facebook satellite. Since then, Musk has been a vocal critic of Facebook, particularly in regard to its privacy policies. Recently, with Meta's (formerly Facebook) update on privacy policies, Musk once again expressed his critiqu. He deleted the Tesla and SpaceX Facebook pages and claimed he no longer has any use for the platform. This article aims to explain Musk's critique, the latest updates to WhatsApp and Facebook's terms of service, and the alternative messaging platforms Musk recommends.

Meta's Privacy Policy Update

Meta's recent update to WhatsApp and Facebook's terms of service has generated significant criticism, with Musk being one of the loudest voices. The update, which was announced to take effect on July 26, 2022, brings several important changes to the platforms' privacy policy. The primary goal of this update, as stated by Facebook, is to increase transparency and make it simpler for users to understand and control their privacy settings.

Simplification of Privacy Policy

One of the main changes introduced by the update is the simplification of the privacy policy. Facebook aims to make it easier for users to comprehend the policy, giving them better control over their own privacy. The company has emphasized that this update does not provide them with any extra access to users' data and that they do not have any additional rights to access this data. This emphasis comes in response to the controversy surrounding WhatsApp's 2021 privacy policy, which sparked concerns about data sharing.

Lack of Opt-out Option

However, one of the key factors that has driven Musk's criticism is the lack of an opt-out option in the new update. Users are required to accept the updated privacy policy if they wish to continue using WhatsApp or Facebook. This lack of choice has been a major point of contention, leading to concerns about the fairness of Facebook's privacy policies. Musk, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has expressed discontent with this issue, resulting in a $5 billion fine imposed on Facebook.

Impact of Apple on Facebook's Policies

Another issue that has intensified the battle between Facebook and its critics is the privacy change made by Apple to its iOS operating system. This change, known as App Tracking Transparency (ATT), has had a significant impact on Facebook's sales. The clash between these two tech giants continues to influence the privacy landscape and the way companies handle user data.

Facebook's Transparency Efforts

Facebook has made multiple attempts to rearrange its policies to improve transparency, but not without facing criticism. Previous updates in 2014 and 2018 were reported to be more transparent. However, despite efforts to improve, Facebook's track record includes blunders such as the controversial 2012 terms of service update for Instagram, which misled users into believing their photos would be sold for profit.

Privacy Concerns and Criticisms

Experts in information privacy, including Musk, have raised concerns about meta’s data collection practices. Facebook actively harvests user data, including location, IP address, browsing habits, and other personal information, which it then sells to third parties. Critics argue that even with a clearer privacy policy, it cannot substitute the need for enforceable privacy rights and stricter limits on data processing.

Musk's Objection to Data Selling

Musk's objection to Facebook's privacy policies stems from his discomfort with the platform's data selling practices. He has consistently refused to set up Facebook pages for his companies, claiming that any pages claiming to be affiliated with SpaceX or Tesla are not endorsed by him. Musk's objection gained further traction after WhatsApp's 2021 privacy policy change, which required sharing user data with Facebook, contradicting the platform's previous end-to-end encryption features.

WhatsApp's Privacy Policy Change

The 2021 privacy policy change for WhatsApp stirred controversy as it mandated the sharing of user information, including phone numbers, IP addresses, and contacts, with Facebook. The lack of an opt-out option raised concerns among users, prompting many to delete their WhatsApp accounts. Musk, disapproving of Facebook's data selling policies, encouraged people to switch to other messaging platforms with end-to-end encryption, such as Signal.

Musk's Recommendation: Signal and Telegram

Following the backlash against WhatsApp's privacy policy change, Musk tweeted a simple recommendation: "Use Signal." Signal, like WhatsApp, offers end-to-end encryption, which ensures user privacy. Musk also mentioned Telegram as an alternative messaging platform. His endorsement led to a surge in new installations of Signal and Telegram, signifying a growing interest in privacy-focused alternatives.

Impact of Musk's Tweet

Musk's tweet had a significant impact on user behavior. According to data from Sensor Tower, Signal witnessed over 100,000 new installations in the two days following Musk's tweet. Telegram experienced an even larger surge, with nearly 2.2 million new downloads. In contrast, WhatsApp downloads fell by 11% compared to the previous week.


Given Elon Musk's vocal criticism of Facebook's privacy policies, it is crucial for users of Meta products, including WhatsApp and Facebook, to familiarize themselves with the latest updates and understand how they may impact their privacy. Musk's recommendation to use privacy-focused messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram highlights the growing movement towards safeguarding personal data and online privacy.

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