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Facebook CEO Apologizes For Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘really sorry’

Facebook Cambridge Analytica

Facebook head, Mark Zuckerberg says he is open to testifying before the Congress regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Cambridge Analytica is a data firm that was linked to President Donald Trump’s campaign for 2016 U.S presidential elections. The firm is reportedly accused of taking advantage of Facebook’s privacy settings and misusing users’ data to influence the elections. The firm is currently surrounded by a lot of controversies including how it accessed the data in the first place. Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are also put under observations regarding the social giant’s data and privacy policies.

On Wednesday, in an interview with Recode Zuckerberg said that he is open to appear before lawmakers and provide information about the issue if he’s the right person.

When asked if he’d testify, the Facebook CEO said, “I’m open to doing that.”  “We actually do this fairly regularly … There are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about, and the way that we approach it is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all of the information that they need to have.”

The new data regulations will obviously cost too much to Facebook as its advertising business depends upon user data (interests). Facebook would need to limit collecting too much data.

The scandal itself has cost Facebook to lose roughly $50 million in market cap this week.

Zuckerberg repeatedly admitted that his team had made mistakes while building the platform and it’s data policies that allowed Cambridge Analytica to misuse data of some 50 million Facebook users.

“We let the community down and I feel really bad and I’m sorry about that,” he apologized. He even called the mistakes as “breach of trust” with its users.

Zuckerberg regretted opening Facebook’s user data to third-party developers without adequate monitoring. The platform collected too many users’ personal data with a vision to create a social circle where users could interact with their friends on other services and apps too. However, according to Zuckerberg, he misunderstood what people wanted.

“Frankly, I just think I got that wrong,” he said.

“There was this values tension playing out between the value of data portability — being able to take your data and some social data, the ability to create new experiences — on one hand, and privacy on the other hand,” he said. “I was maybe too idealistic on the side of data portability, that it would create more good experiences — and it created some — but I think what the clear feedback from our community was that people value privacy a lot more.”

In 2015, when Facebook first found out that Cambridge Analytica had collected users’ data, Facebook asked the firm to delete it and the firm agreed and even sent a written statement to Facebook saying it had deleted all the collected data. Zuckerberg now regrets that he trusted Cambridge Analytica’s statement and did not check by himself to confirm.

“At the time, it didn’t seem like we needed to go further on that,” he said. “Given what we know now, we clearly should have followed up, and we’re never going to make that mistake again.”

What has lost cannot be acquired back. When asked whether the stolen data could be recovered now, Zuckerberg said “not always”.

The company is now investigating about who else had access to user data and if anyone else had abused Facebook’s policies.

“The data isn’t on our servers, so it would require us sending out forensic auditors to different apps,” he explained. “We do know all the apps that registered for Facebook, and all the people who were on Facebook who registered for those apps, and have a log of the different data requests that the developers made. So we can get a sense of — what are the reputable companies? What are companies that were doing unusual things?”

Facebook will now have the developers (who had access to all the data and who are doing something unusual) go through an audit. According to Zuckerberg, the process of fixing the holes and investigating other third-parties, could take months to complete and would likely cost “many millions of dollars”.

Zuckerberg also showed concerns about him being the one to decide Facebook policies depending on real values and his own ideology.

“What I would really like to do is find a way to get our policies set in a way that reflects the values of the community, so I am not the one making those decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”

“[The] thing is like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that?” Zuckerberg said. “I guess I have to, because of [where we are] now, but I’d rather not.”

Also Read: WhatsApp Co-Founder Says It’s Time to Delete Facebook

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