Zuckerberg admits Facebook "breach of trust"
Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on what he called the "Cambridge Analytica situation" today in a Facebook post, saying there was a "a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that."
Why it matters: Facebook has been under extraordinary pressure from lawmakers, regulators and Wall Street to respond to the issue.
Facebook also announced concrete actions in a separate post. It will:
- Notify users if it knows an app has been misusing data. "Moving forward, if we remove an app for misusing data, we will tell everyone who used it."
- Turn off access for unused apps. "If someone hasn’t used an app within the last three months, we will turn off the app’s access to their information."
- Limit the amount of data given to those that use Facebook Login, its authentication platform
- Go back and review pre-2014 apps that, like the one at the center of this scandal, had access to wide swaths of data including information not just by those using the apps, but also their friends. "We will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. If we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them from our platform."
But there is a ton that wasn't said in either post, including his response to criticisms over how long Facebook took to disclose what it knew in this case as well as the many calls for new regulations and for company executives to testify.
Sandberg too: Also breaking her silence was Sheryl Sandberg, who shared Zuckerberg's post and adding "You deserve to have your information protected - and we'll keep working to make sure you feel safe on Facebook. Your trust is at the core of our service. We know that and we will work to earn it."
Initial reactions: Shares of Facebook inched up after the post, though many on Twitter noted how modest the specific changes being are. Meanwhile, Sen. Ed Markey replied to Zuckerberg, saying "You need to come to Congress and testify to this under oath."
But, but, but: What Zuckerberg didn't say in his note.
What's next: Zuckerberg is set to appear on CNN tonight.
Zuckerberg's Cambridge Analytics comments fail to calm lawmakers
Facebook's response to the controversy over Cambridge Analytica's illicit gathering of its user data haven't satisfied many of its critics on Capitol Hill.
Why it matters: New data privacy regulations would upend Facebook's business model, so the company is looking to address lawmakers' fears this week.
What they're saying:
- "The steps Facebook has laid out to protect its users are a start but Zuckerberg still needs to come testify," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Twitter.
- "Given Mr. Zuckerberg’s public comment today that “at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform’, it is all the more appropriate that he personally represent his company in an appearance before Congress," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in a statement.
- Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), in a NPR interview, called Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's statement on the scandal a "very superficial mea culpa."
- “They deserve to be credited with some first steps but they are only first steps," said Blumenthal. "So I am far from satisfied that these very vague and overarching commitments will satisfy their users and consumers, either."
But, but, but: The company's loudest critics so far have been Democrats and Republicans who aren't in congressional leadership. Real trouble, like legislation or a hearing featuring Zuckerberg, would come for Facebook if that frustration spreads to Republican leaders and committee chairs.
- The Senate Commerce Committee sent questions to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica earlier this week. A similar inquiry in 2016 about a scandal with Facebook's Trending Tropics feature never led to hearings or legislation.
- Facebook is briefing six committees in the House and Senate this week on the Cambridge Analytica issue. A spokesperson for the House Energy and Commerce Committee said their briefing had taken place already. "We are continuing to examine the issue closely and gather the facts," the spokesperson said.
Also looming over Facebook are investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and multiple state attorneys general. The company is holding a briefing on Thursday for AGs around the country and one of its lawyers said Tuesday that it appreciates "the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have."