Trailblazing tech journalist Walt Mossberg is finished with Facebook.
In a Monday morning tweet thread, Mossberg let his 874,000 followers know that he’s leaving the social network around the end of the year. “I am doing this – after being on Facebook for nearly 12 years – because my own values and the policies and actions of Facebook have diverged to the point where I’m no longer comfortable there.”
Mossberg added that he’ll also be leaving Facebook Messenger and the Facebook-owned Instagram as well.
Mossberg’s exodus might only count as one strike against Facebook’s massive user base of 2.2 billion people, but his exit is glaring. Mossberg has been a leading voice on tech for decades, first as the lead tech writer at The Wall Street Journal and later as the co-founder of AllThingsD.com and Recode. His departure signals the platform has lost the trust of one of tech’s most prominent voices when it comes to protecting the privacy of its users.
His announcement came after he shared a Recode report that Facebook hasn’t launched its “Clear History” feature, allowing users to wipe away their search history, more than six months after it was first announced. Facebook unveiled the tool only two months after it was revealed up to 87 million users were vulnerable in 2014 to having their profile information lifted by political firm Cambridge Analytica. The ensuing PR nightmare for Facebook sent CEO Mark Zuckerberg on a public apology tour, culminating in a trip to Congress in April.
The bleeding didn’t stop there, however. The company was then hit by a security breach in September, where about 30 million users had their phone numbers and search history exposed to hackers. Facebook has also been skewered for its inability to stop election meddling in the 2016 U.S. election — something the company aimed to thwart this year ahead of the 2018 midterms. Facebook’s stock price has suffered as a result of its tumultuous year, with shares down about more than 20 percent since the start of 2018.
Mossberg finished his thread saying he wasn’t urging anyone else to follow in his footsteps “or trying to spark some dump-Facebook movement”; rather, it was a “personal decision about where online I wish to participate.”
3/ I am hardly the first person to quit Facebook and I am not urging anyone else to do so, or trying to spark some dump-Facebook movement. Nor am I judging anyone who remains, or everyone who works there. This is just a personal decision about where online I wish to participate.
— Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg) December 17, 2018