The U.K.-based political advertising firm Cambridge Analytica used data of over 50 million American Facebook users without their permission to help Donald Trump win the 2016 Presidential elections. After this incident came into light, Facebook faced a lot of criticism over how it handles the data of users. Data breach benefited the U.K. based firm to influence voters based on information they had and help Trump win over the White House. The investigation into Russian meddling in the elections is ongoing and the pressure on social media platform heightened when this scandal came into light.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was under immense pressure to give explanation for this incident. Moreover, many users and politicians asked him to appear before the court and face public questions. After five days of the revelation, Facebook CEO broke silence and released a statement regarding the scandal. He vowed to take various steps to protect data and fix what he termed as “breach of trust” between Facebook and its users.
Addressing the scandal publicly through Facebook post, Zuckerberg outlined that the social media firm made mistakes and highlighted how it has made changes in policies to ensure safety of data. “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” wrote Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. “I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Along with Facebook post, Facebook CEO discussed the matter with CNN’s Laurie Segall in an interview on “Anderson Cooper 360” on Wednesday. “I’m really sorry that this happened,” Zuckerberg told CNN’s Laurie Segall. “I wish we’d taken those steps earlier. That … is probably the biggest mistake that we made here.”
Facebook explained how the data breach occurred. The data was collected by a professor for an educational app according to the rules of the company. Then it was transferred to third parties, which is a violation of policies of Facebook. This scandal has costed a lot to the California-based social media firm. Along with an uproar of criticism, it wiped away nearly $50 billion in stock price earlier this week. Politicians from both sides of the Atlantic have asked Facebook CEO to testify on this matter. Number of lawsuits have been filed by investors and users against Facebook. However, Facebook CEO has pledged to make the platform safe.
“I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform,” Zuckerberg said. “We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.”
Zuckerberg outlined in his post that the company will take necessary steps to restrict developers from accessing user data. This step will automatically restrict an access for any app that user has not opened from at least past three months. Moreover, Facebook will promote an existing tool designed to ensure users have can remove access to their data to apps they have already permitted access. This tool will begin appearing at the top of the News Feed page from the next month. Zuckerberg outlined the company has been “working with regulators” who are carrying out investigations into the Cambridge Analytica scandal.