Despite having a substantial fan base of 547,000 Facebook followers, the Canadian award-winning singer/composer Loreena McKennitt says she is leaving the platform. The musician, alongside her independent record label, Quinlan Road, announced on Friday their plans to eliminate her presence on the social media platform as of June 1. McKennitt reveals in a statement that the reason behind her decision stems from privacy concerns.
In 2005, the multi-platinum artist became the subject of a privacy invasion court case when a former friend and employee published intimate details of the artist’s life in a book that McKennitt felt exploited the grief that followed her husband’s death as a result of a tragic boating accident. In regards to the thousands of fans who currently follow her on Facebook, the musician says the “cost” is a price she is willing to pay.
“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.”
The musician is asking fans to redirect their attention to her website, where they can join a mailing list and continue receiving up-to-date information on all her future releases, tours and other activities. McKennitt is set to release her forthcoming album Lost Souls on May 11. The recording will mark the musician’s first original recording since 2006.
Despite her seemingly uncompromising decision to leave the social media platform, McKennitt suggests that if and when sufficient policy regulations are put into place, she may consider returning to Facebook.
“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.
With more and more questions being raised about our right to privacy in the internet age, other artists may follow McKennitt’s example and decide that, for them, Facebook is unessential. For the musician and her independent record label, protecting their personal data is more important than the convenience Facebook presents.
“I realize by taking this step it may become more difficult for us to reach out to people, but that is a price we are prepared to pay,” says McKennitt. “At the same time, I’m aware that for many people Facebook has run its course and this may be the time for them to move on too.”
You can join McKennitt’s email mailing list here or follow her on Twitter at @loreena. The musician’s new album, Lost Souls, releases on May 11. You can preorder it right here.