Mark Zuckerberg would have known about concerns of data breaches at Facebook as early as 2010, MPs today heard.
The tech giant’s former operations manager Sandy Parakilas said the media giant handed over ‘highly personal’ data on its users to app developers.
But once the information was handed over the company had no way of keeping track of it – meaning it could be harvested and used by firms like Cambridge Analytica.
Mr Parakilas, who worked for the firm in 2011 and 2012, said he gave top executives a briefing on the dangers that data could be breached.
But he said Facebook effectively turned a blind eye to these concerns and did not carry out audits of where the data was going.
He said Facebook’s obsession with growth but lax privacy controls was like the ‘Wild West’ of America.
His revelations to the culture select committee comes amid outcry over claims the details of 50 million Facebook users were harvested by the firm Cambridge Analytica (CA).
Sandy Parakilas (pictured left) said Mark Zuckerburg (pictured right) would have known aout concerns data could be harvested back in 2011
These details were then used to help shape the way people voted in the US presidential election in 2016, it is claimed.
The revelation, made by a whistleblower who worked at CA has sparked calls for Governments to impose far stricter privacy laws on tech firms to protect data.
Mr Zuckerberg has yet to break his silence on the scandal, which has sent the price of Facebook shares falling.
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.
It has also emerged today that Cambridge Analytica approached the Tories under David Cameron to offer their services, but they were turned down under Theresa May.
Mr Parakilas said Mr Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, would have known about these concerns – saying ‘they were no secret’.
He told the committee: ‘I was one of the people raising concerns. There was a lot of press at the time suggesting that this was potentially violating people’s privacy.
‘It was a known issue.
‘I made a map of all of Facebook’s vulnerability and included a list of potential bad actors which included foreign bad actors.
‘I said these are the areas where the company is exposed and user data is still at risk. I shared that around some of the people at the time.
‘Some of the executives I shared the presentation with are still there – senior executives in charge.’
He added: ‘I don’t know if Mark Zuckerberg would have been aware of specifically what I said but I think it was understood internally and externally there was risk with respect to the way Facebook. platform was handling the data.
‘There were concerns from the press and the public. I don’t think it was a secret this was a problem.’
He added: ‘I don’t think it was a secret this was a problem.’
He said there was no policy of informing Facebook users that their data had been breached
And he said the wither ‘none or very very few’ people would have known their data had been shared with Cambridge Analytica.
He added: ‘The concern that I had was they built this platform that allowed these people to get hold of this data from people who had not explicitly authorised it.
Sandy Parakilas gave evidence to MPs via a video link to Westminster but the politicians were forced to grill him through a low-quality image (pictured)
Sandy Parakilas was giving evidence to the culture select committee via videolink (pictured) and said the media giant handed over ‘highly personal’ data on its users to app developers.
‘In some cases they could read your messages – it was really personal data.
‘They allowed that to leave Facebook’s servers and there weren’t any controls once the data had left.’
Meanwhile, the scientist who helped to hoover up data Facebook users said today ‘tens of thousands’ of other apps may also have been harvesting profiles.
Cambridge University academic Dr Aleksandr Kogan claims he has been made a ‘scapegoat’ for the scandal and accused CA of ‘selling magic’ to its clients.
Dr Kogan says he had no idea his work in 2014 was used during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and other elections.
He also revealed that tens of thousands of other apps may be mining social media for personal data to be sold on.