Walt Mossberg is far from alone in giving up on Facebook. But as a leading technology journalist who has spent decades chronicling the impact of Silicon Valley’s policies, his exit from the social network speaks louder than most.
Mr. Mossberg, a veteran of The Wall Street Journal, The Verge and Recode, said on Monday he would be deactivating his Facebook account, along with the Facebook-owned Messenger and Instagram apps.
“I am doing this — after being on Facebook for nearly 12 years — because my own values and the policies and actions of Facebook have diverged to the point where I’m no longer comfortable here,” he wrote on Facebook.
While Mr. Mossberg didn’t list any specific complaints on Monday, his history of public writing left little doubt that his ire was aimed largely at the company’s policies and actions on user privacy. He declined to comment when reached by email.
But in his Facebook post, he stopped short of suggesting others follow his lead.
“This is a decision I am making just for myself,” he said. “If the company or the service change significantly for the better, in my view, or become effectively regulated, I may resume regular use.”
Mr. Mossberg, who retired from writing weekly columns last year but has continued offering commentary on Twitter, has been covering technology since he lugged around his 1977 Radio Shack laptop. He has personally grilled top executives of tech companies, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, on their privacy policies.
He is working on a book, set to be published next autumn, about how the tech industry has transformed in the last four decades.
“To me, the tech revolution has been a net positive, and I don’t think it’s a close call,” he told The Verge in October 2017. “But there have been unintended consequences, like elections and harassment. The two things tie together in the headlong rush to do the next thing with no one asking questions along the way. We’ve never stopped to catch a breath.”
Mr. Mossberg has argued that the government should take an active role in protecting the internet, and that Facebook has “a direct responsibility to get rid of fake news.”