Loreena McKennitt has decided to leave Facebook, despite having more than half a million followers. She says she has lost faith in Facebook’s ability to safely manage private information. “It’s really more out of concern of being part of a greater infrastructure that is presently compromised, and feeling like I want to take a time out until the legislators and the regulators have had a chance to really address the concerns,” McKennitt says.
The multi-platinum artist is no stranger to the perils of privacy invasion. In 2005, she was involved in an acrimonious court case in England when a former friend and employee published a book containing intimate details of their friendship and of McKennitt’s own grief after her fiancé drowned in a boating accident. McKennitt argued that this and other information that was shared was private and confidential and the former friend had no right to publish it. The English courts agreed and ruled in McKennitt’s favour. The judgment, known as McKennitt v Ash, set an important legal precedent in the area of privacy rights and was upheld by the House of Lords in 2007.
“After watching Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before Congress and hearing him accept that these industries and monopolies will need regulating, I’m heartened that things will now start heading in a better direction, hopefully harmonizing with the more advanced legislation Europe is about to launch in May,” McKennitt says.
“There’s no question it will hit us,” says McKennitt, “but I have grave concerns about the negative impact this misuse is having on our privacy, our democracy and society in general. I want to lend my full support to the legislators who must now work to prevent these invasive, predatory and manipulative practices from continuing. For me, the time has come.”
On May 11, 2018 McKennitt will release a highly-anticipated new album, Lost Souls, her first original recording since 2006. Despite the inherent advertising and marketing opportunities with Facebook, the independent artist has decided to redirect her 547,000 Facebook followers to her own website. There, they’ll be invited to join her mailing list to receive information about her music, releases, tours and other activities. In order to give her followers time to migrate and her business and distribution partners sufficient notice to make the necessary adjustments, McKennitt has set the date of her Facebook withdrawal for June 1st.
Click here to read Loreena’s opinion article in The Star on this topic.