Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited, acknowledged a breach of trust over the Cambridge Analytica scandal but failed to apologize. Lessons have been learned, he said, pledging to do better in future. Further he admitted Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan’s 2013 personality quiz, which mined data on some 300,000 Facebook users and their contacts, saying Facebook changed its data use rules in 2014, in response to this.
In 2015 Facebook banned Kogan’s app after learning from Britain’s Guardian newspaper that he had sold data on to Cambridge Analytica (CA), the London-based political strategy firm which worked for a string of US politicians’ election campaigns, including that of President Donald Trump.
The firm certified that it had deleted that data, in response to demands from Facebook, but last week the Guardian and Britain’s Channel 4 News alleged that that had not been done. Channel 4 covertly filmed CA CEO Alexander Nix boasting of fixing elections around the world, using prostitutes and blackmail to control politicians. He has since been suspended by the firm.
Zuckerberg claimed Facebook had already had most of the security measures needed to prevent a repeat of the data breach in place for years. Zuckerberg eventually uttered the s-word in an interview with CNN on Wednesday evening. “This was a major breach of trust, and I’m really sorry that this happened,” he said.
CEO also said Facebook would testify before Congress on the scandal, but did not commit to appearing in person. “What we try to do is send the person at Facebook who will have the most knowledge,” he said. “If that’s me, then I am happy to go.”
Zuckerberg said he was willing to consider outside regulation of Facebook, within limits. “I’m not sure we shouldn’t be regulated,” he said. “There are things like ad transparency regulation that I would love to see.”
He told the New York Times Facebook’s security force would be doubled. “We’ll have more than 20,000 people working on security and community operations by the end of the year, I think we have about 15,000 now.”