March 21, 2018
When stories emerged that Cambridge Analytica used Facebook’s platform to harvest information from the profiles of 50 million people, the outraged public demanded CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step up and speak.
Today, Zuckerberg posted a statement on his personal Facebook profile, apologizing for the data breach and promising to prevent future misuse of private information.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg said in his post.
Zuckerberg continues on to describe the data protection measures already in place since 2014 and the steps he will take to ensure users’ data are protected.
First, said Zuckerberg, the company will audit any suspicious apps with access to large amounts of data before the 2014 data reduction. Any app developer who refuses to comply with the audit or who misused identifiable information will be banned, and the affected individuals will be notified.
Second, Facebook will further restrict developers’ data access, first by removing developer access to data with apps that haven’t been used in 3 months, and second, by reducing data developers can access to only name, profile photo, and email address. If developers want to access data about users’ posts and other private information, they must first request approval from Facebook and sign a contract.
Third, Facebook will roll out a feature on top of News Feed that shows everyone all the apps they’ve used. From there, they can revoke those apps’ permissions to their data.
Zuckerberg was forced to address the public today after a few news publications from The New York Times and The Guardian revealed that Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that worked for Trump’s presidential campaign, harvested personal information from 50 million people. Cambridge Analytica obtained the data from Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan. Kogan collected the data from 300,000 Facebook users who downloaded his personality quiz app thisisyourdigitallife.
“This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica, and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it,” said Zuckerberg.
For many, Zuckerberg’s written statement was not good enough. Tonight, the CEO will appear in an interview with CNN to answer hard questions.