TORONTO – Singer Loreena McKennitt says she’s shutting down her Facebook profile over concerns for her fans’ privacy.
The Manitoba-born performer, known for her 1997 hit “The Mummers’ Dance,” told her 547,000 Facebook followers that she will close the fan page on June 1.
The decision comes after McKennitt, who is a member of the Order of Canada, began researching the details behind data exchange between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.
She wasn’t satisfied with the social media platform’s response after learning how private information was being used.
“As a business owner and a citizen I became very concerned that Facebook was offside,” she said.
McKennitt said the situation brought back memories of her own experiences with breach of privacy about a decade ago. A former friend published a book with details of her life, including passages about her relationship with her fiance who died in a boating accident.
She launched a lawsuit which led to a landmark U.K. court ruling in her favour which set a precedent for “right to privacy.”
“I felt like I couldn’t have come through the privacy case that I (was involved in),” she said, “and yet allow my own business to continue and be part of an ongoing infrastructure that I knew was not as strong or as accountable as it needed to be.”
McKennitt hopes that her action will at least be “a catalyst for conversation” and possibly motivate people and businesses who were “sitting on the fence” to take action.
“Every company has a duty of care for their customers, and I don’t think people have thought about this,” she said.
“I believe that democracy doesn’t thrive as a spectator sport.”
Other celebrities have severed ties with Facebook in recent months.
Jim Carrey sold his shares of the company in February and deleted his Facebook page saying they profited from Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and weren’t doing enough to stop it. He urged others to follow his lead.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak left Facebook over his belief that the company was profiting off the data of its users.
McKennitt, who releases a new studio album next month, added that she hasn’t entirely ruled out a return to Facebook if she feels they’ve fixed their security problems.
Whether or not that happens, she doesn’t accept suggestions from some critics who say it’s too late for people to close their Facebook accounts.
“I’d rather stop partaking in an infrastructure that I know is very compromised, and not accountable to the degree that many citizens would like,” she said.
“I feel completely like this is the right move.”
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