By David Meyer
March 28, 2018

The #DeleteFacebook train has picked up another passenger, at least for now: Playboy.

The men’s magazine announced Wednesday that it is deactivating its accounts on the leading social media network. It’s not full-scale account deletion, but it does more or less add Playboy’s voice to those of Elon Musk and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, who say Facebook’s ethical lapses over data protection are too much for them.

Playboy already had another reason to be sore at Facebook, though: its policies on sexual content, which has forced self-censorship. As the media company said a statement, the platform’s guidelines have long forced Playboy to “alter [its] voice” in order to avoid having its content taken down.

“While that has challenged our business objectives and the ability to reach our audience in an authentic way, 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 Enterprises said. “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 company’s suspension of its Facebook accounts only applies to those it manages directly—some Playboy editions, such as that in the Netherlands, are published by licensees that control their own Facebook accounts.

The #DeleteFacebook trend was sparked by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which it emerged that the data of tens of millions of Facebook users was siphoned off and sold to a political consultancy. The movement has proven to be a useful way for somewhat past-their-prime entities to garner a bit of attention—the trip-hop act Massive Attack, who were most successful in the 1990s, are a case in point.

Playboy is these days a shadow of its former self—a brand licensing business still feeding off its past notoriety from the pre-Internet age. Nonetheless, it does have a decent argument for saying its Facebook account suspensions are in character with that brand.

“Playboy has always stood for personal freedom and the celebration of sex,” it said in that statement. “Today we take another step in that ongoing fight.”

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