Apr 4, 2018

Zuckerberg: Facebook made a “huge mistake” — but I can fix it

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged a range of mistakes on Wednesday, including allowing most of its two billion users to have their public profile data scraped by outsiders. However, even as he took responsibility, he maintained he was the best person to fix the problems he created.

Why it matters: Zuckerberg is under unprecedented pressure after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, which lawmakers will grill him about when he testifies before Congress next week. “We’re probably a year into a massive three-year push,” he said. “These are big issues.”

What he’s saying:

  • Zuckerberg is “quite confident given our analysis” that no more than 87 million were affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Zuckerberg said it could be less.
  • Most of Facebook's users could have had data from their public profiles scraped by third parties.
  • He’s not going anywhere. Asked if the board discussed that he should step down as chairman, Zuckerberg replied, "Not that I’m aware of." And asked if he was the best person to run the company, he said yes.
  • He hasn’t fired anyone during the Cambridge Analytica fallout. “I started this place, I run it, I’m responsible for what happens here,” he said.
  • The company is weighing its legal options against Cambridge Analytica. “What we have said and they’ve agreed to is a full forensic audit of their systems so we can get those answers,” he said, but that won't happen until after the U.K. government and IPO finish their investigation.
  • Facebook "worked hard" to comply with a 2012 Federal Trade Commission settlement that requires the company to abide by certain privacy promises.
  • Zuckerberg said that contrary to a Reuters report, the company is open to offering features similar to those covered under GDPR, the sweeping European privacy regulation that will go into effect in May. “The reporter asked me if I was planning on running [privacy] controls across the world and my answer was yes," he said. "Will it be the exact same format? Probably not."

Financial impact: The chief executive claimed he has yet to see a meaningful decline in users, usage or advertising. “I don’t think there’s been any meaningful impact that we’ve observed,” he said. “But look, it’s not good. I don’t want anyone to be unhappy with our services."

The bigger picture: Before Zuckerberg spoke to reporters, Facebook announced a crackdown on third-party access to its data and said that up to 87 million users' information might have been passed along to the Trump-linked Cambridge Analytica.

What's next: Zuckerberg will testify before a key House panel next week.

Go deeper

CDC: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," but more data is needed

CDC Director Robert Redfield briefs reporters on April 8. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and scientists still aren't sure whether people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

What they're saying: The agency explicitly warned against using antibody tests to determine whether someone should return to work or to group people within schools or prisons.

Trump accuses Twitter of interfering in 2020 election

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Trump responded via tweets Tuesday evening to Twitter fact-checking him for the first time on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent.

What he's saying: "Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post," the president tweeted. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,584,091 — Total deaths: 349,894 — Total recoveries — 2,284,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,301 — Total deaths: 98,875 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: CDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy