22 March 2018Hot off the Press
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for what he calls “a major breach of trust” in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and has said his organisation has failed in its “basic responsibility” to protect users’ data.
In an interview with CNN, Mr Zuckerberg said Facebook is implementing measures to ensure better protections for users’ information. This will be done primarily by limiting app developers’ access to user data and making sure there “aren’t any other Cambridge Analyticas out there”.
Cambridge Analytica is a London-based political consultancy firm which stands accused of improperly accessing Facebook users’ data to construct profiles on American voters.
It is alleged the gathered data was kept and used to help elect US President Donald Trump, despite the organisation telling Facebook they had deleted the information.
The data was supposedly collected by a University of Cambridge psychology academic, Aleksandr Kogan, who used a survey app on Facebook. The information was then passed onto Cambridge Analytica, which used it for targeted political advertising during the 2016 US Presidential Election campaign.
Mr Zuckerberg also said Facebook will review its history and identify any other possible breaches.
“It’s hard to know what we’ll find, but we’re going to review thousands of apps,” he said. “This is going to be an intensive process, but this is important; I mean this is something that, in retrospect, we clearly should have done, upfront, and we’re not going to make that mistake again.”
Mr Zuckerberg defended his company’s response, saying that when the story broke, Facebook immediately banned all Cambridge Analytica activity and asked for a formal certificate confirming whether or not the firm did indeed still hold the data.
While only 300,000 users participated in Kogan’s survey, their doing so gave him access to all of their friends’ data without their knowledge. It is estimated 50 million people’s data was accessible.
Mr Zuckerberg said: “This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.”
Facebook has reportedly lost nearly $50 billion of its stock market value in the past three days amid investors’ fears the scandal could deter advertisers and users and prompt calls for tougher regulation, with #DeleteFacebook trending across social media.