Elon Musk deleted the Facebook pages for SpaceX and Tesla on Friday, seemingly because someone dared him. In a Twitter conversation about the social network, spurred by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton’s call to #DeleteFacebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a user called “serdarsprofile” told Musk he should delete the SpaceX page “if you’re the man.” So he did.
The move is in keeping with Musk’s Twitter persona, where he makes seemingly rash business decisions based on customer interactions. The tech entrepreneur founded a tunnel-digging company in December 2016 because he was bored in traffic, promoted a Spaceballs-inspired flamethrower, and regularly promises electric car features based on user suggestions. The sudden decision to remove the SpaceX page on Friday was followed by a question from Bryson Masse, reporter at The Wire Report, to delete the Tesla page. So he did.
Musk’s decision comes as users are abandoning Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, where it emerged that the startup had harvested 50 million users’ data for political campaigning purposes. Just 270,000 people consented to an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” accessing their social information, which was then passed to the firm and subsequently used as part of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for the presidency. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised a “full audit” of how apps used data over the seven years they existed in on Facebook before the company changed its policies.
The deletion elicited mixed responses in the replies. While Twitter user Arnab Goswami called on someone to “give this man a medal,” another with the username “starlink” noted that “SpaceX and Tesla social managers aren’t feeling okay.” User Rami Mohan said he would delete his Facebook account too, on the condition that Musk gives him a $35,000 Model 3 electric car.
At the time of writing, the pages are still unavailable. It’s unclear whether Musk will restore them — most of his social media presence focuses on his Twitter account with 20.5 million followers.
Whether Musk’s move sparks a wider response from Facebook users remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: #DeleteFacebook just added a huge name to its list.