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WhatsApp founder Brian Acton says 'it's time to delete Facebook'

Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, has urged people to quit Facebook in the wake of the privacy scandal (REUTERS/Mike Blake)

One of the founders of WhatsApp who made millions from a Facebook takeover has urged users to delete their profiles from the social media giant.

Brian Acton said in a tweet “It is time”, followed by the hashtag #deletefacebook – seemingly a direct response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has engulfed Facebook.

MORE: Data academic says he’s being made a ‘scapegoat’ by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

His tweet has been liked more than 8,000 times and retweeted 3,700 times but despite various Twitter users asking him to comment further, Acton has been silent.

WhatsApp was bought out by Mark Zuckerberg’s company in 2014 for $16 billion and Acton is no longer with the messaging service firm.

MORE: How to delete or deactivate your Facebook account if you’re worried about privacy

The number of Google searches on ‘how can I delete Facebook’ has spiked over the last 48 hours since details of the apparent privacy breach emerged.

Data of some 50 million Facebook users, mainly in the US, was harvested without their explicit consent via their friend networks.

MORE: UK investigates Facebook over data breach, to raid Cambridge Analytica

That data was sold on to UK-based political consultants Cambridge Analytica – which reportedly played a leading role in the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

Its boss Alexander Nix has been suspended following the broadcast of undercover footage filmed by Channel 4 in which he and another executive outlined how they use various methods to discredit political rivals and shape elections.

Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, was caught on camera explaining how his firm can influence elections (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

The CA board said that Nix had been suspended “with immediate effect, pending a full, independent investigation”.

It said comments by Nix recorded by Channel 4 News and “other allegations” did not represent “the values or operations of the firm” and that his suspension “reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation”.

Authorities in the US and the UK are seeking explanations from bosses at both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica about how the data was gathered, where it went and how it was used.

Facebook shares fell a further 5% on Tuesday, following a 6.7% drop on Monday, meaning that in total, about $50bn has been wiped from its market value.