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Why musician Loreena McKennitt is leaving Facebook - and her half million followers - behind

Canadian singer and composer Loreena McKennitt, along with her record label, is shutting down her Facebook page as of June.

The multi-platinum artist is shutting down her page over privacy concerns

Loreena McKennitt stopped by CBC London to talk with Chris dela Torre on Afternoon Drive on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

Canadian singer-songwriter and composer Loreena McKennitt, along with her record label, is shutting down her Facebook page as of June.

While boasting a following of more than 547,000 followers, McKennitt and Quinlan Road, her independent label, have decided to take the Facebook page down in response to privacy concerns connected to the social media giant.

"I've been following technology subjects for a number of years and with respect to Facebook, we've had a page for a number of years now," McKennitt told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive.

"It wasn't until I learned about the Cambridge Analytica event and watched the key players, that I realized that this was not only a major privacy concern, but a democracy concern."

The multi-platinum artist said she felt she had no choice but to remove herself from Facebook until the platform is strengthened by regulation. Especially when it comes to collecting user's data and selling it to third parties, and targeting users with political content, she said.

Fought legal battle over privacy

"It was a very, very difficult decision, but once I realized the scale and severity on the privacy corner, and given that I had been involved, successfully, in a privacy case in the UK about ten years ago, I felt in all conscience that I didn't have a choice," said McKennitt.

While she has not experienced any privacy issues with Facebook personally, she experienced dealing with a privacy invasion more than a decade ago.

A former friend and employee published a book in England in 2005 with intimate details from her own life, including details from her relationship with her partner, who died in a boating incident.

She took the landmark case to the English courts, who ruled in her favour, setting a precedent for privacy rights in 2007.

"It was through the two years of that process that I had the opportunity to examine the difference between privacy, secrecy, confidentiality, surveillance, and security," she said.

"With a person who is well known, there's a vulnerability to others wanting to know your information. The average person is protected through their anonymity, and I wondered if there will ever be an occasion where people will feel their privacy is being invaded like I felt mine was at the time."

Fans who now want to stay up to date with McKennitt can sign up for her mailing list to receive updates about her music, tours and other happenings on her website.

A new record

Next month, McKennitt is set to release her first original studio album in more than a decade.

"Lost Souls" is a collection of songs she has been working on for years, including some tracks that she said didn't quite fit in previous albums.

"It was inspired by the book by Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress. It's about how we, as a species, have a propensity to get ourselves in progress traps, and that we might very well be in one now when I'm thinking about technology," she said.

McKennitt — who has won two Juno Awards — was nominated for two Grammy Awards and received a Billboard International Achievement Award.

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