Playboy has discontinued its page on Facebook after the recent data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The decision was announced by chief creative officer, Cooper Hefner, son of the magazine’s late founder Hugh Hefner.
According to Hefner, Playboy’s value does not go hand in hand with Facebook’s content guidelines and corporate policies. He also stated that Facebook as a platform continues to be “sexually repressive.” Hefner added that they have always been on the side of personal freedom and the celebration of sex, and the decision to delete pages on Facebook is another step in the unending fight.
“Learning of the recent meddling in a free U.S. election further demonstrates another concern we have of how they handle users’ data — more than 25 million of which are Playboy fans — making it clear to us that we must leave the platform,” Hefner tweeted.
We are stepping away from Facebook pic.twitter.com/4yFIdk2eDE
— Cooper Hefner (@cooperhefner) March 28, 2018
After the announcement, Playboy’s official page disappeared from Facebook. However, other official pages like Playboy Netherlands are still present, but it is not known if Playboy controls those pages, notes CNN.
Facebook has been under intense pressure after the news broke out earlier this month that Cambridge Analytica, which is possibly somehow connected to President Trump’s 2016 election campaign, extracted information of around 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal dates back to 2014, but came to light only a few days back. In 2014, an academic of Russian origin at Cambridge University in the UK developed an app that enabled the users to take a psychological test. Users needed to feed required data about their Facebook Friends. Later, the data was sold to a voter profiling company in the UK in the name of Cambridge Analytica.
Soon after the news broke, massive campaigns with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook started trending across the social media. Last week, Commerzbank and Mozilla discontinued ad campaigning on the social network. The social networking giant raked in more than $10 billion from advertising in the third-quarter of 2017, an increase of 49%.
Elon Musk also deleted the official Tesla and SpaceX pages from Facebook last week. When a Twitter user asked him to take down the Space X Facebook page, Musk replied that he was not aware of a Space X official page on Facebook. Then, when he was asked about the Tesla page, Musk said, “Definitely. Looks lame anyway.” Both the pages had over 2 million likes each.
After deleting the pages, Musk tweeted, “I don’t use [Facebook] & never have, so don’t think I’m some kind of martyr or my companies are taking a huge blow.”
Recently, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton also asked his Twitter followers to delete Facebook. “It is time. #deletefacebook.” Acton has about 21,000 followers on Twitter.
Celebrities like Will Farrell also criticized the social networking giant, and embraced the #DeleteFacebook movement. Apple CEO Tim Cook also recently asked for “well crafted” privacy regulations.
Dan Ives, an analyst at GBH Insights, stated that approximately $4 to $5 billion of Facebook’s annual advertising revenue is at risk due to the latest scandal, according to Business Insider. Ives suggested that the latest scandal could fan the debate over a more stringent regulatory environment for the social networking sites, “leading to major changes/impact to the company’s advertising model and key monetization engines for 2018 and beyond.”
The analyst is also not pleased with the reluctant attitude of Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg over the issue. “The radio silence from executives over the last few days has added fuel to the growing Cambridge fire and if this data leak fiasco is left to fester it could take on a life of its own,” the analyst said.
For the past few years, the social networking giant has been one of the most preferred stocks on Wall Street. There was a time when analysts were all praises for Facebook’s monetization strategy, saying the best is yet to come.
Now, Ives – in the worst case scenario – expects revenue to come 9% below the Wall Street estimates. Ives, however, is not lowering his $225 price target on the stock. The analyst believes that stringent regulations might impact the company’s ability to some extent, but investment in security, ad content AI, improved content algorithms/screening mechanism along with other improvements would help Facebook “keep regulators at bay.”
On Tuesday, Facebook shares closed down 4.90% at $152.22. Year to date, the stock is down almost 14%, while in the last week, it is down over 9%.