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Mark Zuckerberg in 2016. Photo: Lluis Gene / AFP / Getty Images

Axios is told that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to speak out in the next 24 hours on the data-harvesting revelations that have hammered his stock price, inflamed lawmakers in D.C. and Europe, and trapped his social network in a crisis of trust.

"It’s a big deal, and he knows it."
— A source close to Zuckerberg

What's been happening: We're told that Zuckerberg was initially more focused on how to fix the problems than on what to say. But that left a vacuum that provoked merciless coverage, increased lawmakers' suspicions, and even left some employees demoralized.

The coverage, like the stock drop, is brutal: A USA Today headline calls the Cambridge Analytica crisis a "catastrophic moment" for Facebook. An online N.Y. Times opinion piece is headlined, "Facebook’s Surveillance Machine."

  • We're told that Zuckerberg's remarks will be aimed at rebuilding trust, and that he wanted to say something meaningful rather than just rushing out.
  • Behind the scenes, Zuckerberg has been having detailed conversations with product engineers about things that can be done to make Facebook more secure, and to make people feel their data is more secure.

Be smart: A problem with that argument is that Facebook has long known about these vulnerabilities. And the commercial use of your personal data, in ways you may not knowingly approve, has always been part of the business model.

Wall Street Journal front page, "Facebook’s Lax Data Policies Led to Cambridge Analytica Crisis ... Social-media giant’s loose policing of app developers went on for years" (subscription):

  • How it happened: "The Cambridge Analytica crisis has its roots in a 2007 decision by Facebook to open access to its so-called social graph — the web of friend connections, 'likes' and other Facebook activity."
  • "Although Facebook had rules stating the terms under which developers could accumulate data, it appeared not to be able to ensure its rules were being followed."
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Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

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