Viber Is Breaking Up with Facebook
Viber, one of the world’s leading messaging apps, announced on Friday that it is cutting all business ties with Facebook. The Israel-founded, Luxembourg-based messaging app said it will remove Facebook Connect, Facebook SDK, and GIPHY, as well as stop all ad spending on the social network giant.
In a statement, Rakuten Viber, the company that operates the messaging app, said it is boycotting Facebook for multiple offenses, including “numerous instances of data misconduct, including the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the political consulting firm improperly harvested data of up to 87 million Facebook users.”
The company also said it sees Facebook’s hate-speech stumble as “the last straw.” As such, the messaging app is taking the #StopHateForProfit movement a step further, cutting all business ties with Facebook.
Earlier this year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had said that the social network he co-founded was not planning to police controversial political speech on the platform. Zuckerberg had insisted that Facebook was going to stand for free expression.
But it seems Viber sees it differently.
“Facebook continues to demonstrate poor judgment in understanding its role in today’s world,” Viber CEO Djamel Agaoua said. “From the company’s mishandling of data and lack of privacy in its apps, to its outrageous stand of avoiding the steps necessary to protect the public from violent and dangerous rhetoric, Facebook has gone too far. We are not the arbiters of truth, but the truth is some people are suffering from the proliferation of violent content and companies must take a clear stand.”
Viber’s announcement follows a group of six organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP, calling on Facebook advertisers to pause their spending on the social networking site during the month of July over the company’s inability to protect users from hate speech.
The messaging company also said it is leveling up the growing #StopHateForProfit movement to boycott the tech goliath.
Viber, which claims to have one billion users worldwide, said its actions to remove the relevant Facebook touchpoints from the Viber app are expected to be completed by the beginning of July 2020. Ad spending on Facebook will cease effective immediately.