Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has finally spoken about the data scandal that has seen almost $50 billion wiped off the value of one of the world’s biggest companies.
After several days without comment, Zuckerberg has started a smarm offensive with TV and media interviews explaining how the disaster happened.
The British firm at the eye of the storm, Cambridge Analytica, has been banned from the social media network for misappropriating information from Facebook user profiles.
Zuckerberg agrees the data leak is a breach of trust between Facebook and its 2 billion users worldwide. He even went as far as saying sorry.
“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, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.
“I’m really sorry that this happened.”
No data stolen, says Facebook
But he argues that no data was stolen, but information about users and their friends and contacts was collected by consent.
The data was collected through an app call mydigitalpersonality by a Cambridge University psychology professor Dr Aleksandr Kogan.
Around 270,000 people downloaded the app.
“Although Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time, he did not subsequently abide by our rules,” says Facebook.
“By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he violated our platform policies.
“When we learned of this violation in 2015, we removed his app from Facebook and demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed. Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and Wylie all certified to us that they destroyed the data.”
Now, Zuckerberg is promising to hire a team of auditors to investigate Facebook apps that could lead to data breaches.
Facebook also promised to cap the amount of data third-party developers can access when users login to their sites with a Facebook profile.
Zuckerberg added that governments should regulate tech firms to protect personal data, although he is not quite sure how this would work.