The tech billionaire made his public address where he urged people to delete Facebook at Stanford University in California in the US. Acton explained to students the principles that led to WhatsApp’s creation and defended his decision to sell the company to Facebook for £14billion in 2014.

He also criticised Facebook and other tech giants, such as Google, for being too focused on profits.

Acton left WhatsApp altogether in 2017 because he didn’t think that adverts should be introduced to the messaging platform.

WhatsApp’s other co-founder Jan Koum also left Facebook last year, reportedly because he disagreed with the company’s plans to monetise WhatsApp and its approach to user privacy.

This isn’t the first time that Acton has called for people to delete Facebook.

In 2018, he tweeted the command after the Cambridge Analytica scandal was revealed. Acton used his recent speech at Stanford to further criticise Facebook and suggest that all of the internet giants are ‘not equipped’ to make decisions regarding what is good and bad content and ultimately what users can see.

Acton thinks users can stop the control these companies have by taking that decision making power away.

He said: “And we give them the power. That’s the bad part. We buy their products. We sign up for these websites. Delete Facebook, right?”

WhatsApp – a quick history

Here’s what you need to know…

  • WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
  • It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
  • Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
  • After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
  • It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
  • The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
  • As of February 2017, WhatsApp has over 1.2 billion users globally

Many people appeared to agree with Acton’s comments online and also highlighted their reliance on other tech giants.