Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was apologetic on US TV Wednesday night as he said sorry for the ‘major breach of trust’ after 50million members had their personal data harvested without their knowledge.
The billionaire, 33, also announced a crackdown on apps used to hijack details from users after the Cambridge Analytica scandal slashed the social network’s value by $50billion (£35m) and his own fortune by $5billion (£3.5m).
This is even as advertisers Thursday threatened to abandon the social media giant. The ISBA, a group of leading British consumer goods companies, has demanded answers from the social media giant, according to the Times. It was claimed that around 3,000 firms including Unilever and Procter & Gamble did not want to associate with Facebook if it was shown that users’ data had been acquired without permission.
M&C Saatchi boss David Kershaw said ‘Some advertisers will say enough is enough to Facebook, but the truth is that advertising is an oligopoly, with 60 per cent of all spending going to Facebook and Google’.
Banking giant Nordea said it had put some Facebook investments in ‘quarantine’ as it monitored the scandal.
Speaking for the first time, five days after the data breach emerged, Zuckerberg told CNN: ‘This was a major breach of trust and I’m really sorry that this happened. Our responsibility now is to make sure this doesn’t happen again’.
And in a contrite message to victims and those planning to delete their profiles he said: ‘We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you’.
He added: ‘We need to make sure there are no other Cambridge Analyticas out there’.
Mr Zuckerberg, who said he open to stricter government regulation of his website, admitted he had failed to get to grips with ‘adversaries’ using fake Facebook accounts and campaign groups.
He also revealed he is ‘sure someone’s trying’ to meddle with the upcoming US midterm elections.
Facebook’s billionaire founder has admitted he failed to ‘lock down’ user data and stop Russian election meddling.
He said: ‘What’s clear is that in 2016, we were not as on top of a number of issues as we should have, whether it was Russian interference or fake news.
‘I’m sure there is a ‘version 2’ of whatever the Russian effort was in 2016. I’m they’ll be working on that.
‘There are going to be some new tactics that we need to make sure that we observe and get in front of’.
When asked about interference in the upcoming midterms he said: “I’m sure someone’s trying.
He added: ‘What we see is a lots of folks trying to sow division. That’s a major tactic that we saw Russia try to do. Most of what they did was not about the election it was mostly about dividing people.
‘They’d run a group for pro-immigration reform and they’d run another group against immigration reform to just try to pit people against each other.
‘And a lot of this was done with fake accounts that we could do a better job of tracing and using AI tools to be able to scan and observe a lot of what is going on and I’m confident that we’re going to do a much better job.
‘Now the reality is with a community of two billion people, I can’t promise that we’re going to find everything. But what I can commit to is that we’re going to make it as hard as possible for these adversaries to do that and I think that we’re going to do a much better job’.
Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that his company made mistakes in how it handled data belonging to 50 million of its users and promised tougher steps to restrict developers’ access to such information.
He said: ‘I wish we’d taken those steps earlier. That is probably the biggest mistake that we made here’.
He also admitted it was ‘clearly a mistake’ to trust Cambridge Analytica (CA) when Facebook asked the British data firm to delete tens of millions of users’ data.
He also said they would now notify ‘anyone whose data might have been affected’.
Zuckerberg said measures had been in place since 2014 to prevent the sort of abuse revealed over the weekend but the social network needed to ‘step up’ to do more.
The Facebook founder said CA had provided formal assurances that data harvested from 50 million profiles had been destroyed after the breach was revealed in 2015.
‘I don’t know about you, but I’m used to when people legally certify that they are going to do something, that they do it. But I think this was clearly a mistake in retrospect,’ Mr Zuckerberg told CNN.
The billionaire, who has been called on to give evidence to MPs in person over the scandal, said he would be happy to appear before US Congress ‘if it’s the right thing to do’. But he did not say he was willing to face the British parliament to answer questions.
Facebook’s revenues soared to billions of pounds after it started giving away users’ details, it emerged today.
The social media giant practically doubled its takings every year after opening up profiles to ‘tens of thousands’ of app developers.
Facebook users were yesterday waking up to how much private information has been handed out. During the data gold-rush – which lasted from 2009 to 2015 – it appears almost anyone who described themselves as a ‘developer’ could freely mine Facebook’s database.
In this period, the technology firm’s revenues rose sharply, from £500million in 2009 to nearly £13billion by 2015.
Facebook shares have dropped some 8 percent, lopping about $46 billion off the company’s market value, since the revelations were first published.
The world’s largest social media network is facing growing government scrutiny in Europe and the United States about a whistleblower’s allegations that London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed user information to build profiles on American voters which were later used to help elect President Donald Trump in 2016.
The Trump campaign paid the firm $6million during the 2016 election, although it has since distanced itself from Cambridge.
Until it tightened privacy settings in April that year, Facebook was effectively giving away masses of personal data to third-party developers for free, to encourage them to create more apps and grow the platform, say experts.