Health and fitness brand CrossFit has withdrawn its presence and ads on Facebook and Instagram, accusing the social network of being “utopian socialists”.
The move came in the wake of the decision to delete “without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan”, a group that advocated a diet aimed at eating “food that is as close to its natural state as possible — free from processing, additives, preservatives and sugar”.
The group suspension was later overturned, but CrossFit issued a lengthy statement announcing the end of their presence on the platform.
“All activity on CrossFit Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram accounts was suspended as of May 22, 2019, as CrossFit investigates the circumstances pertaining to Facebook’s deletion of the Banting7DayMealPlan and other well-known public complaints about the social-media company that may adversely impact the security and privacy of our global CrossFit community,” the statement read.
CrossFit is the latest company to leave Facebook – citing privacy concerns and frustration over the algorithms that control its News Feed.
“8 reasons to leave”
The company provided eight “publicly sourced complaints” as the reasons for quitting.
“Facebook collects and aggregates user information and shares it with state and federal authorities, as well as security organisations from other countries,” the first reason read.
“Facebook collaborates with government security agencies on massive citizen surveillance programs such as PRISM,” CrossFit said in the second reason.
“Facebook censors and removes user accounts based on unknown criteria and at the request of third parties including government and foreign government agencies,” it continued.
“Facebook collects, aggregates, and sells user information as a matter of business. Its business model allows governments and businesses alike to use its algorithmically conjured advertising categories as sophisticated data-mining and surveillance tools.”
The company then added, “Facebook’s news feeds are censored and crafted to reflect the political leanings of Facebook’s utopian socialists while remaining vulnerable to misinformation campaigns designed to stir up violence and prejudice.”
Analysis: a return to passion-driven communities?
Greg Consiglio, COO at Connectt, a start-up based in London that provides brands with owned communities, forecast that more brands will leave Facebook and opt to manage private, ‘passion-driven’ network.
“Eight reasons to come off of Facebook and Instagram according to CrossFit,” said Consiglio. “It’s a mighty list of grievances that will resonate with many other organisations who are becoming impatient with the regulation of their News Feeds and concerns over how their customer data is used. Indeed, marketers worldwide are re-thinking how they can build authentic relationships with their customers over social media, and the value of Facebook within this strategy.
“CrossFit’s concerns around privacy are well-founded. Facebook is openly planning to take a $5 billion hit from the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations, a record penalty against a US tech company. Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to reassure at the recent F8 conference, it would be naïve to assume that Facebook will be ceasing the collection of data in private interactions any time soon when its entire model depends upon it.
“News Feed concerns also cited by CrossFit echo those that led Lush to step away from Facebook in April this year, as the cosmetics company said it was tired of fighting the algorithms that dictated the type of content its users saw.
“We’ll likely see more of this movement from brands – away from the vast networks of today, where they’ve little control or insight, to smaller targeted communities where they can engage with relevant consumers away from the noise and with greater control over their own social experience.
“It’s dialling back to what social media used to be: passion-driven communities, uniting people who share a common interest. These allow brands, organisations or social groups to manage their user data and ensure its privacy, while also allowing members to unite over a common interest.”