Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has attempted to navigate through the intense backlash stemming from the controversial interview a former Cambridge Analytica employee recently gave to The Guardian how the data analytics company mishandled personal information of millions of Facebook users that was originally provided by the social media giant.
Last week, Zuckerberg asked for forgiveness in a full-page newspaper ad in both the U.S. and the U.K.
“We have a responsibility to protect your information,” the ad read. “If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.”
Referring to how the scandal originated, Zuckerberg explained in the apology that “a quiz app built by a university researcher” leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014.
“This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Zuckerberg said.
The newspaper ad is only the second time Zuckerberg has spoken publicly about the scandal. He gave an interview to CNN five days after the news broke, which yielded more questions than answers.
While Zuckerberg aims to paint a more simplistic picture of the controversy, it has been reported that data obtained and held by Cambridge Analytica was used for the purpose of creating targeted political campaigns during the 2016 Presidential elections. The campaigns were based on psychological and personality profiles mined from the Facebook data.
However, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to unravel and Facebook continues its damage control, it should be noted that mishandling user data has been a theme of the social network since day one.
In fact, during Facebook’s humble beginnings, Zuckerberg himself chatted online with a friend and bragged about how much personal information he had gained from users, and said that he would be more than happy to give it all out. Zuckerberg confirmed the validity of the IM conversations back in 2010.
This is an excerpt of part of the conversation:
ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fu*ks
When asked about the IM conversations, Zuckerberg said that he “absolutely” regretted them.
“If you’re going to go on to build a service that is influential and that a lot of people rely on, then you need to be mature, right?” he said. “I think I’ve grown and learned a lot.”
Apparently, the college drop-out-turned-world’s-youngest-billionaire has not quite all there could be to know. With public trust of the company at an all-time low, users have now started the #deletefacebook movement. The company’s stock price has also fallen more than 11 percent over the last week.