The U.S. Congress has released Mark Zuckerberg’s prepared testimony a few days before the Facebook CEO is scheduled to appear in front of the governing body.
Zuckerberg said he is “responsible” for problems involving “fake news” and a massive data leak.
“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy,” said Zuckerberg in his prepared remarks to the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, which Congress shared on Monday. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
The 33-year-old exec is scheduled to testify before the committee on Wednesday, following the revelation that up to 87 million users had their data unknowingly accessed by political firm Cambridge Analytica in 2014.
Zuckerberg covered the issue early in his remarks, saying Facebook demanded Cambridge Analytica delete its data — grabbed in violation of the company’s app policies — when it first learned of the leak in 2015. The social network didn’t learn until last month from several reports the firm “may not have deleted the data as they had certified,” according to Zuckerberg’s testimony. The CEO then outlined measures Facebook is taking to safeguard against similar leaks in the future, including restricting data accessed by apps.
Zuckerberg also revisited the company’s battle with Russian misinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. election. According to Facebook estimates, more than 120 million users were hit by Kremlin-tied fake news. Zuckerberg said the company now has roughly 15,000 workers reviewing content on the site, and will hit 20,000 by the end of 2018. Facebook kicked off hundreds of Russian trolls from its platform, as well as Instagram, last week.
“Security — including around elections — isn’t a problem you ever fully solve. Organizations like the IRA are sophisticated adversaries who are constantly evolving, but we’ll keep improving our techniques to stay ahead,” said Zuckerberg. “And we’ll also keep building tools to help more people make their voices heard in the democratic process.”
Zuckerberg said the social network now needs to go beyond its goal of connecting the world if it’s going to make a positive impact.
“It’s not enough to just connect people, we have to make sure those connections are positive. It’s not enough to just give people a voice, we have to make sure people aren’t using it to hurt people or spread misinformation,” said Zuckerberg in his testimony. “It’s not enough to give people control of their information, we have to make sure developers they’ve given it to are protecting it too. Across the board, we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.”
Read his entire testimony: