Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally weighed in on the Cambridge Analytica data leak on Wednesday, admitting to having “made mistakes” — five days after it was revealed 50 million users unknowingly had their information lifted by the data firm.
The social media magnate outlined several new measures the social network will adopt to protect its users in a Wednesday Facebook post.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” said Zuckerberg. “We also made mistakes,” he added, saying, “There’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”
Zuckerberg did not include an apology in his 935-word statement, and said the “good news” is Facebook had taken steps years ago to stop a similar data leak from taking place. Still, following days of mounting criticism and taking a beating on Wall Street to the tune of $50 billion, Zuckerberg said the company will implement new rules that “would prevent any app like Aleksandr Kogan’s from being able to access so much data today.”
Kogan — a researcher at the University of Cambridge — built an app for Facebook users that was downloaded 270,000 times in 2014. Using “liked” pages and data on users’ friends, Kogan was able to build “personality profiles” on 50 million unwitting users and sell it to Cambridge Analytica — violating Facebook’s terms of service in the process. Zuckerberg noted Facebook narrowed the access new apps had later in 2014. Cambridge Analytica was eventually contracted by the Trump campaign during its successful 2016 run to the White House.
Moving forward, Zuckerberg said Facebook will audit “suspicious activity” from apps, report when user data has been misused, and turn off app access to profiles after they’ve went unused for three months. Facebook will also restrict app access to strictly a user’s name, profile photo, and email address, unless receiving “approval” from Facebook.
“I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform,” added Zuckerberg. “I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past.”
After dipping 9 percent since the New York Times reported the leak on Friday, shares of Facebook ticked up about 0.75 percent in Wednesday trading.
View Zuckerberg’s full post below: