Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was humbled on US TV last night as he said sorry for the ‘major breach of trust’ after 50million members had their personal data harvested without their knowledge.
The billionaire, 33, also announced a crackdown on apps used to hijack details from users after the Cambridge Analytica scandal slashed the social network’s value by $50billion (£35m) and his own fortune by $5billion (£3.5m).
Speaking for the first time last night, five days after the data breach emerged, he said: ‘This was a major breach of trust and I’m really sorry that this happened. Our responsibility now is to make sure this doesn’t happen again’.
And in a contrite message to victims and those planning to delete their profiles he said: ‘We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you’.
He added: ‘We need to make sure there are no other Cambridge Analyticas out there’.
Mr Zuckerberg, who said he was ‘uncomfortable’ facing the press, also admitted he had failed to get to grips with Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential race using Facebook and said he is ‘sure someone’s trying’ to meddle with the upcoming US midterm elections.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologized for the massive data breach that compromised information of tens of millions of users
“I really just care about building something that my girls are going to grow up and be proud of me for. That’s what is kind of my guiding philosophy at this point.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says fatherhood has changed him and the way he works. https://t.co/s8imiO57TX pic.twitter.com/aPIZznNIbL
— CNN (@CNN) March 22, 2018
He said: ‘What’s clear is that in 2016, we were not as on top of a number of issues as we should have, whether it was Russian interference or fake news’.
WHAT IS FACEBOOK DOING TO FIX ITS DATA MINING PROBLEM?
Mark Zuckerberg finally broke his silence on the misuse of 51 million users’ data Wednesday evening, outlining three steps the firm plans to take to prevent something like this from happening again. This includes:
1. Investigate apps which used old system to get user information
Apps can no longer access the same amount of information that Kogan did through quizzes thanks to a 2014 change in Facebook policy however it remains unclear how many took advantage of the old rules before they changed.
On Wednesday, Zuckerberg said Facebook’s first step was to go back and look at what they still know.
2. Make the rules even tighter for app developers
If a person has not engaged with an app for three months, Facebook will remove their access to you.
They will also restrict what information they do get in the first place to only your name, profile photo, and email address. If they want more, they will have to sign a contract and get approval.
3. Introduce tool to show what companies already know about you
The tool will appear in the next month or so on users’ news feeds.
Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that his company made mistakes in how it handled data belonging to 50 million of its users and promised tougher steps to restrict developers’ access to such information.
He said: ‘I wish we’d taken those steps earlier. That is probably the biggest mistake that we made here’.
He also admitted it was ‘clearly a mistake’ to trust Cambridge Analytica (CA) when Facebook asked the British data firm to delete tens of millions of users’ data.
He also said they would now notify ‘anyone whose data might have been affected’.
Zuckerberg said measures had been in place since 2014 to prevent the sort of abuse revealed over the weekend but the social network needed to ‘step up’ to do more.
The Facebook founder said CA had provided formal assurances that data harvested from 50 million profiles had been destroyed after the breach was revealed in 2015.
‘I don’t know about you, but I’m used to when people legally certify that they are going to do something, that they do it. But I think this was clearly a mistake in retrospect,’ Mr Zuckerberg told CNN.
The billionaire, who has been called on to give evidence to MPs in person over the scandal, said he would be happy to appear before US Congress ‘if it’s the right thing to do’. But he did not say he was willing to face the British parliament to answer questions.
Facebook’s revenues soared to billions of pounds after it started giving away users’ details, it emerged today.
The social media giant practically doubled its takings every year after opening up profiles to ‘tens of thousands’ of app developers.
Facebook users were yesterday waking up to how much private information has been handed out. During the data gold-rush – which lasted from 2009 to 2015 – it appears almost anyone who described themselves as a ‘developer’ could freely mine Facebook’s database.
In this period, the technology firm’s revenues rose sharply, from £500million in 2009 to nearly £13billion by 2015.
Today advertisers threatened to abandon the social media giant.
The ISBA, a group of leading British consumer goods companies, has demanded answers from the social media giant, according to the Times. It was claimed that around 3,000 firms including Unilever and Procter & Gamble did not want to associate with Facebook if it was shown that users’ data had been acquired without permission.
M&C Saatchi boss David Kershaw said ‘Some advertisers will say enough is enough to Facebook, but the truth is that advertising is an oligopoly, with 60 per cent of all spending going to Facebook and Google’.
Banking giant Nordea said it had put some Facebook investments in ‘quarantine’ as it monitored the scandal.
Mr Zuckerberg also admitted he had failed to get to grips with Russian meddling
Earlier on Wednesday, Zuckerberg broke his silence over the Cambridge Analytica scandal on Wednesday in a lengthy Facebook post shared at 3.50pm
Timeline: How the Facebook data crisis has unfolded
March 18 – Facebook suspends Donald Trump’s data operations team for misusing people’s personal information as Cambridge Analytica story breaks.
CA’s use of Facebook data branded a ‘grossly unethical experiment’ by social media giant who said their policies had been breached;
March 19 – US markets open and Facebook shares plunge over its handling of personal data.
Facebook also hires its own forensics team to investigate Cambridge Analytica and they start searching CA’s offices in London.
But CA refuse to allow Britain’s Information Commissioner’s team in and force her to go to court for a warrant.
March 20 – Facebook l hold an emergency meeting to let employees ask questions about Cambridge Analytica as their share prices plunges.
But Mark Zuckerberg fails to show up and is yet to speak about the crisis that has seen billions wiped off the value of his company.
The billionaire is also asked to appear before Parliament to answer allegations his company has lied about how it handles data.
March 21 – Architect of app that helped harvest data for Cambridge Analytica says tens of thousands of other apps might be doing the same job.
The scale of the breach has grown dramatically since it emerged at the weekend that 50million Facebook profiles were harvested by Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology researcher at Cambridge University, who designed a ‘personality quiz’ app as a research project.
He passed the data to Cambridge Analytica, whose boss Alexander Nix was suspended on Tuesday after Channel 4 broadcast footage of him bragging about the firm’s role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
The company says Mr Nix’s comments ‘do not represent the values or operations of the firm’.
Dr Kogan claimed ‘tens of thousands’ of other apps may be mining social media for personal data to be sold on in the same way. Other experts said it was possible virtually the entire Facebook database from 2015 could be in unknown hands.
Until it tightened privacy settings in April that year, Facebook was effectively giving away masses of personal data to third-party developers for free, to encourage them to create more apps and grow the platform, say experts.
In 2012, there were some nine million Facebook apps – all of whose developers were apparently able to access users’ personal details. It is unclear what checks were made on someone applying to Facebook to become a ‘developer’ – for example whether they might be a company, a spy agency or even a mafia gang – before personal details were made available.
Dutch academic Bernhard Rieder, who created a similar Facebook app in 2009 before deleting it, said: ‘Before 2015, you could get troves of data. I should have stored all the data [and then sold it to] get that Lamborghini.’
Social media users have also raised fears about how others – including Amazon, music service Spotify and dating app Tinder – could be using their data. UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said she was examining whether Facebook could have broken laws under the Data Protection Act.
Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix has been suspended in the wake of the scandal. Facebook has pointed the finger at them and academic Dr Aleksandr Kogan, who designed the app used to harvest data
Footage emerged of a meeting in which Mr Nix appears to suggest that CA could compromise politicians by sending ‘beautiful’ Ukrainian women to candidates’ house
Storage crates have been removed from Cambridge Analytica’s London headquarters (pictured) before Britain’s data watchdog was allowed access
On Wednesday, the generally reclusive Zuckerberg sat for an interview on CNN and gave another to the publication Wired, addressing reports that Cambridge Analytica purloined the data of more than 50 million Facebook users in order to sway elections.
Internet inventor urges Zuckerberg to ‘fix’ damaging data harvesting
World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has described the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal as a ‘serious moment’ for the web, but reassured Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg he can ‘fix it’.
The British computer scientist said it was time for all internet users to ‘build a web that reflects our hopes & fulfils our dreams more than it magnifies our fears & deepens our divisions’.
Sir Tim posted on Twitter after Mr Zuckerberg apologised for a 2015 breach that led to 50 million users’ data being obtained by CA.
‘This is a serious moment for the web’s future. But I want us to remain hopeful. The problems we see today are bugs in the system. Bugs can cause damage, but bugs are created by people, and can be fixed by people,’ Sir Tim said.
‘I can imagine Mark Zuckerberg is devastated that his creation has been abused and misused. (Some days I have the same feeling £justsaying)
‘I would say to him: You can fix it. It won’t be easy but if companies work with governments, activists, academics and web users we can make sure platforms serve humanity.’
The inventor proposed a set of ‘general rules’ for web users to adhere to:
– Any data belonging to a person is theirs alone to control. If anyone is given the right to use the data for a purpose then they should use it for that purpose alone.
– If researchers have access to data they must only use it for research purposes. Sir Tim said this is ‘REALLY IMPORTANT’ as ‘so much important science and medicine depends on that data’.
In a plea to all web users, he said:’My message to all web users today is this: I may have invented the web, but you make it what it is. And it’s up to all of us to build a web that reflects our hopes & fulfils our dreams more than it magnifies our fears & deepens our divisions.’
The Trump campaign paid the firm $6million during the 2016 election, although it has since distanced itself from Cambridge.
Zuckerberg apologized for a ‘major breach of trust,’ admitted mistakes and outlined steps to protect users following Cambridge’s data grab.
His mea culpa on cable television came a few hours after he acknowledged his company’s mistakes in a Facebook post , but without saying he was sorry.
Zuckerberg and Facebook’s No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, had been quiet since news broke Friday that Cambridge may have used data improperly obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users to try to sway elections.
They also failed to show up for a crisis meeting at the company on Tuesday, leading to accusations of weak management.
CA’s clients included Donald Trump’s campaign.
Facebook shares have dropped some 8 percent, lopping about $46 billion off the company’s market value, since the revelations were first published.
The world’s largest social media network is facing growing government scrutiny in Europe and the United States about a whistleblower’s allegations that London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed user information to build profiles on American voters which were later used to help elect President Donald Trump in 2016.
Zuckerberg, in his first public comments since the scandal erupted at the weekend, said in a post on Facebook that the company ‘made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.’
He did not elaborate on what the mistakes were, but he said the social network plans to conduct an investigation of apps on its platform, restrict developer access to data, and give members a tool that lets them more easily disable access to their Facebook data.
His plans did not represent a big reduction of advertisers’ ability to use Facebook data, which is the company’s lifeblood.
Zuckerberg said he was open to additional government regulation and happy to testify before the US Congress if he was the right person.
‘I’m not sure we shouldn’t be regulated,’ he said.
‘I actually think the question is more what is the right regulation rather than yes or no, should it be regulated? … People should know who is buying the ads that they see on Facebook.’
Facebook shares pared gains on Wednesday after Zuckerberg’s post, closing up 0.7 per cent.
The company has lost more than $45billion of its stock market value over the past three days on investor fears that any failure by big tech firms to protect personal data could deter advertisers and users and invite tougher regulation.
Facebook representatives including Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman met US congressional staff for nearly two hours on Wednesday and planned to continue meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Facebook was unable to answer many questions, two aides who attended the briefing said.
The announcement sent Facebook’s struggling stock back up after a treacherous few days
Zuckerberg told the website Recode that fixes to protect users’ data would cost ‘many millions of dollars.’
The whistleblower who launched the scandal, Christopher Wylie, formerly of Cambridge Analytica, said in a tweet that he had accepted invitations to testify before US and UK lawmakers.
The German government said Facebook must explain whether the personal data of the country’s 30 million users were protected from unlawful use by third parties, according to a report in the Funke group of German regional newspapers.
On Tuesday, the board of Cambridge Analytica suspended its Chief Executive Alexander Nix, who was caught in a secret recording boasting that his company played a decisive role in Trump’s victory.
MARK ZUCKERBERG’S STATEMENT ON CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA
I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we’ve already taken and our next steps to address this important issue.
We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.
Here’s a timeline of the events:
In 2007, we launched the Facebook Platform with the vision that more apps should be social. Your calendar should be able to show your friends’ birthdays, your maps should show where your friends live, and your address book should show their pictures. To do this, we enabled people to log into apps and share who their friends were and some information about them.
In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends’ data.
In 2014, to prevent abusive apps, we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the data apps could access. Most importantly, apps like Kogan’s could no longer ask for data about a person’s friends unless their friends had also authorized the app. We also required developers to get approval from us before they could request any sensitive data from people. These actions would prevent any app like Kogan’s from being able to access so much data today.
In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent, so we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.
Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this. We’re also working with regulators as they investigate what happened.
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. We need to fix that.
In this case, we already took the most important steps a few years ago in 2014 to prevent bad actors from accessing people’s information in this way. But there’s more we need to do and I’ll outline those steps here:
First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity. We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps. That includes people whose data Kogan misused here as well.
Second, we will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in — to only your name, profile photo, and email address. We’ll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data. And we’ll have more changes to share in the next few days.
Third, we want to make sure you understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. In the next month, we will show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data. We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings, and now we will put this tool at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone sees it.
Beyond the steps we had already taken in 2014, I believe these are the next steps we must take to continue to secure our platform.
I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past. We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.
I want to thank all of you who continue to believe in our mission and work to build this community together. I know it takes longer to fix all these issues than we’d like, but I promise you we’ll work through this and build a better service over the long term.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, said she ‘deeply regrets’ the breach of trust but did not apologize either
But the academic who provided the data disputed that on Wednesday.
‘I think what Cambridge Analytica has tried to sell is magic, and they’ve made claims that this is incredibly accurate and it tells you everything there is to tell about you. But I think the reality is it’s not that,’ psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, an academic at Cambridge University, told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.
Kogan, who gathered the data by running a survey app on Facebook, also said that he was being made a scapegoat by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
Christopher Wylie, (pictured) who describes himself as one of the company’s co-founders turned whistleblowers, has revealed how Cambridge Analytica paid $1million for the data of 51 million Facebook users
It was Stephen Bannon (pictured) who approved spending almost $1million to acquire data – including from Facebook – in 2014, Wylie said
Both companies have blamed Kogan for alleged data misuse.
Only 300,000 Facebook users responded to Kogan’s quiz, but that gave the researcher access to those people´s Facebook friends as well, who had not agreed to share information, producing details on 50 million users.
Facebook has said it subsequently made changes that prevent people from sharing data about friends, and maintains that no data breach occurred because the original users gave permission.
Critics say that it essentially was a breach because data of unsuspecting friends was taken.
Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica from using any of Facebook’s services on Friday.
Zuckerberg said the company ‘will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse’ and that the company is working with regulators as they investigate what happened.
Many analysts have now raised concerns that the incident will have a negative impact on user engagement with Facebook, potentially reducing its clout with advertisers.
Three Wall Street brokerages cut their price targets.
‘Investors now have to consider whether or not the company will conclude that it has grown in a manner that has proven to be untenable or whether it needs to significantly improve how it is managed,’ said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser.
Facebook shares are down more than 8 percent since Friday.
The company has risen more than 550 percent in value in the past five years.