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AirAsia CEO quits Facebook after New Zealand mosque massacre

Discount airline founder condemns airing of killings on social media

AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes said he will quit Facebook to protest the livestreaming of the killing of 50 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- AirAsia's group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes quit Facebook on Sunday to protest the livestreaming of the New Zealand mosque shootings.

The budget airline founder, an active social media user, has kept his Twitter and Instagram accounts open. Saying that he had been a "victim" himself of various allegations on Facebook, Fernandes decided to drop Facebook following the massacre in Christchurch on Friday, which the suspect broadcast on the social media site as it was happening.

"Facebook could have done more to stop some of these," Fernandes wrote on Twitter to his 1.29 million followers. "It needs to clean up, and not just think of the financials."

Some 670,000 people followed him on Facebook before it was taken down.

Brenton Tarrant was arrested after allegedly going on a shooting rampage at two mosques, killing 50 people and wounding many others who had gathered for Friday prayers. He recorded the shootings live on Facebook. Although the post was taken down a short time later, the video spread quickly to other platforms, sparking a debate on the role of social media in crime.

Fernandes uses social media frequently to promote AirAsia and Queens Park Rangers, his professional soccer club that plays in the English second division.

He joins such well-known business figures as Elon Musk of Tesla and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who said they would delete their Facebook accounts to protest leaks of personal data by the social media company in 2018.

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