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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally commented on the growing crisis that has wiped tens of billions from the company’s share price, reported News.com.au (Australia).
Politicians in the US and UK have called for answers about what the social media giant knew about how personal data was being shared.
The 33-year-old, who was once talked about as a presidential candidate in the making, had gone to ground despite calls for him to face inquiries in person on both sides of the Atlantic.
The demand for answers comes after a whistleblower claimed Cambridge Analytica used data harvested from up to 50 million profiles to determine voter preferences.
But in a Facebook post this morning, Mr Zuckerberg finally addressed the issue and outlined the measures the social media giant has taken.
Mr Zuckerberg admitted there had been a breach of trust between Facebook “and the people who share data with us” and was working to ensure this didn’t happen again.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” he posted.
“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.”
Mr Zuckerberg also vowed that Facebook will “investigate” all apps that have access to large amounts of data and to restrict developers’ data access.
“This was a breach of trust between [Aleksandr] Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook,” his post reads.
“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.”
Both Mr Zuckerberg and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have been under mounting pressure to address the issue since the scandal broke.
Ms Sandberg also addressed the issue in a separate post this morning saying she “deeply regretted” she didn’t do enough to protect people’s data.
“We’ve spent the past few days working to get a fuller picture so we can stop this from happening again,” she said.
Ms Sandberg said Facebook was now investigating all apps that had access to large amounts of information before the platform changed in 2014.
She also vowed to win back users’ trust.
Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s election campaign, came under fire this week over allegations that it tapped the Facebook profiles of millions of users without their permission.
As revealed by The Guardianand The New York Times, the data may have been used to influence the outcome of the United States election in 2016.
The firm, which is owned by hedge fund billionaire and Trump supporter Robert Mercer, said it can analyse consumer data — including social media and its own polling — in order to target people with marketing material.
Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal said Mr Zuckerberg should testify under oath in public before the Judiciary Committee over the harvesting issue, CBS News reported.
“He owes it to the American people who ought to be deeply disappointed by the conflicting and disparate explanations that have been offered,” he said.
“Zuckerberg ought to be subpoenaed to testify if he won’t do it voluntarily.”
Leading Democrat Dianne Feinstein called Facebook’s latest privacy scandal a “danger signal”.
She called for Mr Zuckerberg’s assurances that Facebook is prepared to take the lead on measures to protect user privacy — or Congress may step in.
‘THIS WAS A PROBLEM’
On Wednesday, former Facebook platform operations manager Sandy Parakilas told UK MPs the company was blase about third-party developers accessing user information prior to 2014 when it changed the Friends Permission features.
When asked if Mr Zuckerberg was aware of a presentation he gave outlining his concerns to privacy executives, he said: “I think it was well understood both internally and externally there was risk with respect to the way the Facebook platform was handling data.
“I don’t think it was a secret that this was a problem.”
Mr Parakilas said the company’s attitude to data gathering could be described as the “Wild West” and the unofficial motto was “move fast and break things” in the quest for new users.
“Most of the goals of the company were around growth in the number of people who use the service,” he said. “Some of the most popular apps had hundreds of millions of users. I believe that some of those apps were asking Friends Permission so there was a huge amount of data being pulled from Facebook as a result. It was concerning to me.”
It comes as the #DeleteFacebook movement is backed by Brian Acton, the co-founder of messaging service WhatsApp which Facebook bought in 2014.
“It is time. #deletefacebook,” he tweeted. “Delete and forget. Now’s the time to care about privacy.”
A slew of stories instructing users on how to delete their profile or turn off certain features have appeared online, with many noting deleting an account is not as simple as it sounds.
Early investor, Roger McNamee, told the US National Public Radio the site was losing trust.
“The issue is a callous disregard for the privacy rights of users and a lack of care with respect to data that had been entrusted to Facebook,” he said.
“I’m not sure exactly what’s going on here, but I’m afraid there is a systemic problem with the algorithms and the business model of Facebook that allow bad actors to cause harm to innocent users of Facebook.”
The data scandal follows a crisis over “fake news” spread during recent elections and concerns that Facebook and other social media apps are bad for mental health. Last November former Facebook president Sean Parker said the site is putting children’s mental health at risk by “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology”.
Meanwhile the Cambridge University researcher who developed an app used by Cambridge Analytica to harvest data from millions of Facebook users claims he has been made a scapegoat during the ordeal.
Prof Kogan told the BBC he believed all the information he provided was obtained legitimately. He said he was approached by Cambridge Analytica, which is being investigated by British and US authorities for possible misuse of data.
He said: “They approached me. In terms of the usage of Facebook data, they wrote the terms of service for the app, they provided the legal advice that this was all appropriate.”
Prof Kogan admitted he did not ask enough questions about the data use and did not have a lawyer review the agreement.
Cambridge Analytica has suspended its top executive as possible misuse of data is checked. Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have denied any wrongdoing.
show source http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/wheres-zuckerberg-facebook-founder-goes-to-ground-amid-cambridge-analytica-crisis/news-story/6f5b3f9adc59c99646aded99ce0a77a4