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Why Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is joining the #DeleteFacebook movement

Steve Wozniak speaks during a 2015 panel discussion at the Worldwebforum in Zurich. (Steffen Schmidt/European Pressphoto Agency)

Tech entrepreneur Steve Wozniak says he's quitting Facebook.

Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, told USA Today that he is abandoning the social media giant, joining the #DeleteFacebook movement in which Facebook users are shutting down their accounts over concerns about the use of their personal information.

“Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook,” Wozniak told the newspaper in an interview published Sunday.

In turn, he added, “Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this. The profits are all based on the user’s info, but the users get none of the profits back.”

As of Monday morning, Wozniak's verified Facebook page was still active.

Wozniak told USA Today that he would be willing to pay for the service that Facebook provides, rather than allow a free service to make money at his expense.

“Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you,” he said, comparing Apple's model with Facebook's. “As they say, with Facebook, you are the product.”

With Facebook facing user boycotts and a congressional inquiry in response to revelations that a political firm improperly obtained personal data from millions of the social network's users, Apple chief executive Tim Cook recently was asked what he would do if he were in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's shoes.

“What would I do? I wouldn't be in that situation,” Cook said.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg long resisted going to Congress. Now he’ll face a ‘reckoning,’ lawmakers say.

Wozniak is hardly the first high-profile person to say he was going to bail on Facebook in recent weeks.

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton — “who became a billionaire when Facebook purchased his app in 2014,” as The Washington Post's Geoffrey A. Fowler noted — made waves last month when he took to Twitter, of all places, to declare: “It is time. #deletefacebook.”

Days later, Elon Musk had the Tesla and SpaceX pages removed from Facebook.

Numerous celebrities also have joined the #DeleteFacebook exodus, including Will Ferrell, Rosie O’Donnell and Jim Carrey.

The movement began with the revelation that Cambridge Analytica — a political marketing firm that worked with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — improperly harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users, raising new questions about the social network’s ability to protect user data.

The hashtag #deletefacebook is trending on Twitter after Facebook's Cambridge Analytica controversy. Here's a guide on how to leave the social media site. (Video: Elyse Samuels/The Washington Post, Photo: Kathleen Rudell-Brooks/The Washington Post)

Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday and Wednesday on Capitol Hill about Facebook privacy and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The Facebook founder told reporters last week that the company hasn't observed any “meaningful impact” from the #DeleteFacebook movement or related advertiser threats to curtail spending on Facebook. But he acknowledged that the backlash isn't good.

“I don’t think there has been any meaningful impact we’ve observed,” he said on a conference call. “But, look, it’s not good. I don’t want anyone to be unhappy with our services or what we do as a company. So, even if we can’t really measure a change and the usage of a product, or the business or anything like that, it still speaks to people feeling like this is a massive breach of trust and that we have a lot of work to do to repair that.”

As The Post's Tony Romm reported, lawmakers called on Zuckerberg last month to appear before Congress to respond to the controversy involving Cambridge Analytica.

Since then, Facebook’s problems have worsened, including the revelation this week that what it called “malicious actors” could have accessed information, including names and profile photos, about most of the social network’s more than 2 billion users.
To start, some members of Congress said they want Zuckerberg at the hearings to offer specifics about Cambridge Analytica — and Facebook’s privacy practices writ large — even beyond the information the company has shared in recent weeks.
“More than any one issue, I’m interested in Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the responsibility Facebook plans to take for what happens on its platform, how it will protect users’ data, and how it intends to proactively stop harmful conduct instead of being forced to respond to it months or years later,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the leader of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement.

Tony Romm and Peter Holley contributed to this report.

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