MANILA - Leading messaging app Viber said Friday it was cutting business ties with Facebook to protect its 1 billion users, saying the social media giant's "data violations and failure to combat violent rhetoric have crossed the line."
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, Rakuten Viber said it would remove its chat app's links to Facebook Connect, Facebook's SDK (software development kit) which allows seamless app integration, and Facebook's GIF-making platform GIPHY.
It would also "cease all ad spending on the social networking platform" in support of the #StopHateForProfit movement.
“Facebook continues to demonstrate poor judgment in understanding its role in today’s world. From the company’s mishandling of data and lack of privacy in its apps, to its outrageous stand of avoiding the steps necessary to protect the public from violent and dangerous rhetoric, Facebook has gone too far," said Viber CEO Djamel Agaoua.
"We are not the arbiters of truth, but the truth is some people are suffering from the proliferation of violent content and companies must take a clear stand," he said.
Viber said it was expected to complete removing all Facebook touchpoints from the Viber app by early July 2020, while ad spending will "cease effective immediately."
Facebook has been drawing heavy criticism for failure to protect its users from hate speech, with US civil rights groups calling for an ad boycott against the leading social media platform.
In deciding to cut ties with Facebook, Viber also cited the social media platform's "data misconduct," recalling controversy over British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica's hijacking of Facebook data for the 2016 Trump campaign.