Viber is a very popular messaging platform, with over one billion users worldwide albeit far from the 5 Billion installs of the Facebook-owned Whatsapp on the Android platform alone. So for them to pull the pin on a business relationship with a platform as big as Facebook is not an easy decision. It seems though, from the statement issued by Rakuten Viber this has been brewing for some time:
On top of numerous instances of data misconduct, including the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the political consulting firm improperly harvested data of up to 87 million Facebook users, Viber sees Facebook’s hate-speech stumble as the last straw. As such, the messaging app is taking the #StopHateForProfit movement a step further, cutting all business ties with Facebook.
They’re not just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk with immediate effect. All ad spending on the Facebook platform has ceased, with any code ties to Facebook being removed. This work is targeted for completion by the start of July and includes
- Remove Facebook Connect
- Remove Facebook SDK
- Remove GIPHY (following the recent acquisition by FB) – Viber has actually announced earlier this week the creation of its own GIF generator
Viber are far from the first company to boycott Facebook with others such as BMW, PayPal, Pepsi, Ben & Jerry’s, The North Face and more already abandoning the platform. This is a very strong stance to take for Viber though and only time will tell if the changes are going to have a detrimental effect on the Viber user base. Time will also tell if the pressure comes to bear on Facebook enough for them to change their ways.