In a tweet Tuesday, Playboy’s chief creative officer Cooper Hefner announced that the legendary men’s magazine was “stepping away from Facebook.”
The move comes as many other companies, including Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX, sever ties with the social media giant amid growing scandal, not to mention a rising of tide of ordinary people abandoning ship under the #DeleteFacebook banner.
Facebook has scared off many users in the wake of major scandals.
Facebook’s handling of sensitive user data has been called into question since revelations that the company worked with Cambridge Analytica, handing over user data to the company so that it could run a social media campaign for Donald Trump during the 2016 election. The data should have been destroyed after the election, but a whistleblower has suggested that this didn’t happen as planned, leading to grave concerns surrounding privacy and online regulations. The Federal Trade Commission has even opened an investigation into the affair.
That’s not the end of Facebook’s woes, though. It was also recently revealed that the social media site has been logging phone call information from unwitting users after they installed the Facebook and Messenger apps on their phones.
Hefner’s tweet suggests that the company was dissatisfied with more than just Facebook’s handling of user data, referencing overall sexually repressive values — while Playboy hasn’t officially endorsed the campaign, they’d make a rather fitting ally of the #FreeTheNipple movement.
Regardless of other reasons, data collection was the primary motivation, the last straw for Playboy, which released a statement earlier today that reads: “The recent news about Facebook’s alleged mismanagement of users’ data has solidified our decision to suspend our activity on the platform at this time.”
Playboy’s departure is sure to hurt Facebook, as at least 25 million Playboy fans followed its accounts on the site, according to today’s statement. The magazine has thus chosen not to be complicit in taking advantage of users. “There are more than 25 million fans who engage with Playboy via our various Facebook pages, and we do not want to be complicit in exposing them to the reported practices,” the statement says.
Playboy briefly stopped featuring nude women in 2014 in a bid to be more Facebook-friendly.
In 2014, Playboy stated that its largest audience was on Facebook and even briefly stopped featuring nude women in a bid to be more Facebook-friendly. It’s hard to say if that reliance on Facebook was still the case just before pulling out, as Playboy did resume its traditional inclusion of nudes last year. Maybe the company is at a crossroads, needing to manage its branding outside the restrictions imposed by Facebook.
This is bad news if you were using Facebook to meet your Playboy needs (even if it was just to read the articles), but the broader move away from Facebook could be great in the long run. Facebook serves a purpose, but its control over the flow of information online has been troubling. If a company as big as Playboy thinks it can go it alone, that might be a good sign.
But we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out for them.