'Drop the pretence': Aamir Khan latest star to quit social media, following Pamela Anderson, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

A number of high-profile stars have spoken about 'unsurvivable' abuse and 'hate' they have faced online

This week, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan announced that he is quitting social media. He posted the news on Instagram the day after his 56th birthday, and just a day later, his Instagram had been closed and the post no longer available.

The actor, who is to star opposite Kareena Kapoor Khan in the upcoming film Laal Singh Chaddha, was an intermittent social media user, but said he had "decided to drop the pretence" and quit.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Imaginechina/Shutterstock (10239191q)
Aamir Khan
Asian Film and TV Week launch arrivals, Beijing, China - 16 May 2019
Launch ceremony of Asian Film and TV Week during the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC) in Beijing.

"Hey guys, thank you so much for all the love and warmth on my birthday. My heart is full. In other news, this is going to be my last post on social media. Considering that I am SO active anyway, I have decided to drop the pretence," Khan wrote on Istagram.

He added: "We will continue to communicate as we did before. In addition, Aamir Khan Productions (AKP) has created its official channel. So, future updates on me and my films can be found there ... Lots of love."

Khan is not the first star to step back from social media, however. Here are more stars who have retired from it in recent years:

1. Pamela Anderson 'free' from social media 

On January 26, Pamela Anderson made a social media statement, announcing that she was quitting her digital platforms.

"I am free," the Canadian-American model and actress wrote on Instagram on Tuesday, January 26, accompanying a photo of herself, which looks to be from her 1990s modelling heyday.

"This will be my last post on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook," Anderson, 53, explained. "I’ve never been interested in social media and now that I'm settled into the life I'm genuinely inspired by reading and being in nature."

Anderson's message continued: "Thanks for the love, blessings to you all. Lets hope you find the strength and inspiration to follow your purpose and try not to be seduced by wasted time.

"That's what they want and can use to make money [and] control over your brain."

On Twitter, the vocal Julian Assange supporter simply wrote, “Goodbye social media”, and linked to her Instagram post.

In the days leading up to the announcement of her departure, Anderson had posted on Instagram daily, with various motivational quotes, captions promoting veganism and throwback photos.

2. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex after facing 'unsurvivable hate' 

In early January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reported to have quit social media.

The couple, who grew a sizeable digital following on Instagram with their official @sussexroyal account, are said to have become disillusioned by the “hate” they encountered online.

They have not posted on their official account since March last year.

When they stepped down as senior royals in March 2020, they wrote a final post on Instagram, which suggested they may return to the platform.

"While you may not see us here, the work continues," they wrote. "Thank you to this community, for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon."

However, it's since been reported that they have no plans to use social media to promote their charity organisation, Archewell, and were very unlikely to return to the sites in a personal capacity.

Before reaching global fame as a royal, Markle starred in TV show Suits and also ran The Tig, a lifestyle blog, whose accompanying Instagram page had three million followers when it closed in January 2018 before her May 2018 marriage to Prince Harry.

The Duchess has spoken about the toll online abuse took on her in the past. She appeared on the Teenager Therapy podcast in October 2020, where she said: "I'm told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female. Now, eight months of that I wasn't even visible, I was on maternity leave or with a baby.

"But what was able to just be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable, that’s so big, you can’t think of what that feels like, because I don’t care if you’re 15 or 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging."

3. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quit Facebook in 2019

American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery that she had quit Facebook and limits her time on Instagram and Twitter in 2019.

"I personally gave up Facebook, which was kind of a big deal because I started my campaign on Facebook and Facebook was my primary digital organising tool for a very long time," the US Representative, known as AOC, said. "I gave up on it. We still sort of have accounts on it."

She added that "social media poses a public health risk to everybody".

As a US Representative, she has an official Facebook page which is run by her staff, as the About section makes clear: "Rep Ocasio-Cortez's Congressional staff uses this page to share news and services relevant to NY-14. This is not her campaign Facebook."

4. Letitia Wright quit Instagram and Twitter after questioning Covid-19 vaccines

In this Jan. 30, 2018 file photo, Letitia Wright poses for a portrait at the "Black Panther" press junket at the Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, Calif.  The film opens nationwide on Friday, Feb. 16. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

In December, Black Panther star Letitia Wright linked to a 69-minute On The Table YouTube video on Twitter, which questioned the Covid-19 vaccine and backed anti-vaxxer views. The video has since been removed from YouTube.

The actress received backlash for posting the video and has since deleted her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Before deleting her accounts, however, she made an attempt to defend herself, writing: "My intention was not to hurt anyone, my only intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies … Nothing else."

She also wrote: “If you don’t conform to popular opinions but ask questions and think for yourself you get cancelled.”

Her fellow Marvel star, Don Cheadle, described the claims in the video as "hot garbage", writing: "I would never defend anybody posting this, but I still won't throw her away over it."

5. Elon Musk quit Instagram following a run-in with Azealia Banks

FILES) In this file photo Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks to media as he arrives to visit the construction site of the future US electric car giant Tesla in Gruenheide near Berlin on September 3, 2020. Tesla delivered a record number of cars in 2020, the company said, just narrowly missing its half a million target for the year. The pioneering high-end electric vehicle maker delivered 180,570 cars to customers and produced 179,757 in the fourth quarter of the year, it said in a statement on January 2, 2021.

 / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN

The details on technology billionaire Elon Musk's run-in with rapper Azealia Banks are murky at best. However, following a brief feud on Instagram, Musk quit the platform, and his eight-million-strong following, for good in August 2018.

Banks claims she saw Musk "scrounging for investors" at a party, even though he had recently said Tesla had "funding secured" on Twitter.

She later tagged Musk in a series of Instagram Stories saying, "You need to contact me ASAP", and, "I need my phone back now."

Musk's representatives distanced the entrepreneur from the story, saying: "Elon doesn’t know Azealia Banks. He doesn’t have her phone and neither do his lawyers."

By the end of August, Musk had deleted his Instagram page and has yet to return to the platform. He does, however, regularly tweet.

6. Trolls forced Lizzo to quit Twitter 

epa08168337 Lizzo arrives for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 26 January 2020. Dress by Atelier Versale . EPA-EFE/ETIENNE LAURENT

"Haters" ensured that Truth Hurts singer Lizzo deleted her Twitter page. The famously outspoken singer had a track record of clapping back at critics, but in January last year it became too much.

"Yeah I can’t do this ... too many trolls," she wrote in January. "I’ll be back when I feel like it."

Her management have since used her platform intermittently to promote appearances and new music, but she has never personally tweeted.

She is, however, a frequent voice on Instagram, where she posts regular photos and videos, and engages with fans.

7. Daisy Ridley quit social media after facing anti-gun backlash 

This image released by Lucasfilm shows Daisy Ridley as Rey in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." The Skywalker saga may be coming to an end this December as the latest Star Wars trilogy finishes, but 8 months out from its release fans still know precious little about what director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy have in store for “Episode IX," which opens nationwide on Dec. 20.  (Lucasfilm via AP)

In 2016, Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley quit social media altogether after a post about gun violence faced backlash.

Following the 2016 Teen Choice Awards, and an in-show tribute to victims of a number of US mass shootings, the British actress wrote on Instagram and Facebook: "Thinking about how lucky I am like ... Serious bit: as I sat in the audience yesterday tears were streaming down my face at the tribute to those that have been lost to gun violence. I didn't get a great picture of the incredible group that came on stage but they were so brave. It was a true moment of togetherness. We must ‪#‎stoptheviolence‬."

However, the post angered followers, who slammed her for showing an "utter lack of research". Others criticised her hypocrisy, saying she "kills people with guns in movies".

It seems unlikely that she'll be back on social media soon. In 2019, Ridley described social media as "dangerous", joking that her accounts had been "cut off like a Skywalker limb".