Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak ditches Facebook over data scandal

Following on from other famous figures in the tech and entertainment industries, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has said that he’s left Facebook over the company’s misuse of its users’ data. 

Writing in an email to USA Today, the designer of the Apple II computer criticised Facebook’s business model that makes a product of its users and sells them to advertisers. He also expressed alarm at the sheer amount of data collected by the social network.

Wozniak’s move follows other high-profile Facebook users such as Elon Musk, Mozilla, Playboy, and Will Ferrell, and echoes sentiments expressed by current Apple CEO Tim Cook who has also been critical of the social network in recent weeks.

However, Wozniak hasn’t quite gone as far as deleting his Facebook account entirely. Instead, he’s deactivated it in order to retain his ‘stevewoz’ handle, indicating that he might see fit to return to the network one day.

Related: How to delete Facebook

Getting something for nothing

Interestingly, Wozniak has indicated that he’d be willing to pay for Facebook if it meant not having the company collect and profit from his personal data in sentiments echoing Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Ultimately Facebook as a company needs to make money somehow, and like almost every other free internet service it makes its money through advertising to users.

The difference with the social network is the sheer amount of data it holds on its users, making it much more valuable to advertisers. Why pay to display your adverts for baby products to everyone that visits a site when you can pay Facebook to display them only to new parents, for example?

This is the dilemma that Facebook increasingly finds itself in. If the majority of its users find the site as useful as Wozniak does and have the means to do so, then charging them a subscription fee would be easy, but we imagine that for many the appeal of Facebook is more about convenience than the quality of its services.

With Facebook’s share price hovering at around 15% less than when the scandal first broke, these are serious questions that the social network is going to have to continue to ask itself.

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