‘Was a mistake, I’m sorry’: Zuckerberg on Cambridge Analytica data breach to CNN

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said the social media giant would do a full forensic audit if it detected any suspicious activity from here on.
 ‘Was a mistake, I’m sorry’: Zuckerberg on Cambridge Analytica data breach to CNN
‘Was a mistake, I’m sorry’: Zuckerberg on Cambridge Analytica data breach to CNN
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As Facebook got mired into its biggest-ever controversy, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday admitted that the social media giant "made mistakes" over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and a "breach of trust" had occurred between it and its users.

In a statement on his page on the social media platform, Zuckerberg stopped short of an apology, which came under criticism. However, in an exclusive interview to CNN, Zuckerberg apologized for the “breach of trust” and said that he was “sorry [that] this happened.”

Speaking to CNN’s Laurie Segall, Zuckerberg about the Cambridge Analytica controversy, and the steps the social media giant would be taking to prevent such a massive data leak from here on.

Read TNM's explainer on the Cambridge Analytica data breach here.

Regulated access and audits

Zuckerberg said that they would be taking several steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again.

“One is making sure developers like Aleksandr Kogan just won’t get access to as much info going forward,” he said. “The other thing, we need to make sure there aren’t any other Cambridge Analyticas out there or folks who improperly access data.”

Zuckerberg said that Facebook was going to investigate all the apps that have access to large amounts of data before “locking down” the platform. “If we detect any suspicious activity, we are going to do a full forensic audit,” he said.

“When we identify apps that are similarly doing sketchy things, we are going to make sure that we tell people then too. That is something that – looking back on this – we regret not doing at the time. We got that wrong. We’re committed to getting that right going forward,” Zuckerberg said.

Transparency to users and screening developers

Zuckerberg announced that they were working on a tool which will allow users whose data might have been compromised to be aware of the same.

When Laurie asked why Facebook did not tell users that they knew about the data mining and Cambridge Analytica, Zuckerberg said that they believed the certification the political advocacy company and Kogan gave them saying they did not have any data from Facebook.

He narrates that in 2015, journalists from The Guardian reached out to Facebook saying that they had evidence that Alexander Kogan had sold this data to Cambridge Analytica. Zuckerberg said that this was against the social network’s policy, and that Kogan’s app was banned as a result.

“Cambridge Analytica and Kogan and the other folks with whom data was shared - we asked for formal certification that they didn’t have the data from anyone in the Facebook community or that they deleted it. They provided that certification. So as far as we understood, there was no data at the time of that episode,” he explained.

When asked why didn’t Facebook follow up to ensure that they had actually deleted and were not misusing the data, Zuckerberg admitted that he had put too much trust in the developers and the certification they provided.

“We’re going to do a full investigation into every app that has this kind of data before we lock down the platform. We are not just going to take people’s word for it. If we see anything suspicious – like the were signs were there in this case – we’re going to do a full forensic audit,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg also suggested that the question was not whether Facebook should be regulated so much as how best to do it.

"I'm not sure we shouldn't be regulated," Zuckerberg said. "There are things like ad transparency regulation that I would love to see."

‘Ready to testify before Congress’

Zuckerberg said that he was ready to testify before US Congress if need be.

Although Facebook employs a small army of lawyers and lobbyists in Washington, Zuckerberg himself has never testified before a congressional committee.

Politicians have called for Zuckerberg to testify before their legislative bodies in the five days since the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted.

"The short answer is I'm happy to if it's the right thing to do," Zuckerberg said. “What we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge. If that's me, then I am happy to go," he reiterated.

He also got particularly sentimental when asked about his daughters and how that had changed his outlook.

“Having kids changes a lot,” he began, “I used to think the most important thing to me by far was to have the greatest positive impact on the world that I can. And now, I really just care about building something that my girls are going to grow up and be proud of me for. That’s what is my guiding philosophy at this point.”

(With IANS inputs)

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