Cambridge Analytica: Facebook breaks silence over scandal

Alasdair Clark

Mark Zuckerberg has laid out a series of steps Facebook would take to prevent a similar breach in future

SOCIAL MEDIA GIANT Facebook has issued an apology to users after a data breach affecting tens of millions of users was revealed, the founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg laid out a series of actions the company would take to protect users. 

In his first public statement since news of the scandal broke, Zuckerberg posted an apology on his Facebook page on Wednesday (20 March) evening, promising that important steps to prevent user data had already been taken.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” he said, explaining that it was a “mistake” to rely on “legal certifications” that tens of millions of Facebook users’ data had been deleted after it was acquired by Cambridge Analytica in 2015. 

Zuckerberg said the site was first made aware of the data breach in 2015 after Channel 4 journalists told them information from a personality app created by a Cambridge University professor had been passed to Cambridge Analytica.

“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.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder

“We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.” Zuckerberg posted online. 

Undercover Channel 4 journalists recorded Cambridge Analytica bosses boasting that they had used such data to help Donald Trump into the Whitehouse but the company denies using Facebook data without user’s permission. 

Laying out what Facebook would do, Zuckerberg said the platform had already taken important steps to reduce the amount of data apps had access to in 2014, but in response to the recent revelations, he said a full audit of the data third-party apps handle would be carried out. 

He added: “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.

READ MORE: Theresa May grilled over government links to Cambridge Analytica

“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.”

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have said Zuckerberg should be called to testify about the issue before the House of Commons and the American Congress, speaking to the American broadcaster CNN on Wednesday evening Zuckerberg said he would do this “if it was the right thing to do”. 

Facebook’s share price has continued to plummet since news of the scandal broke, dropping -3.02 per cent at the time of publication. 

Picture courtesy of Brian Solis 

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