Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been under fire after his company sent out data to a political analysis firm called Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly influenced electors during the US Presidential Elections in 2016. Facebook was also accused of not filtering out Russian activities during the elections. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Zuckerberg claimed responsibility for his company’s actions and on April 10, he testified to the US Congress.
Right to privacy
Speaking to the Congress about the right to privacy, Zuckerberg reiterated that it is important to tell people how their information on Facebook is going to be used. He also admitted that long privacy policies – like the ones typically found on websites – are confusing. “…if you make it long and spell out all the detail, then you’re probably going to reduce the percent of people who read it and make it accessible to them,” he said, adding that people should have control over how their information is used.
Moving to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Zuckerberg said that CA started off as an advertising platform in 2015. “So we could have in theory banned them then. We made a mistake by not doing so,” he said. Zuckerberg said that when Facebook heard from CA that they were not using the data and deleted it, they considered it “a closed case.” “In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it. We’ve updated our policy to make sure we don’t make that mistake again.”
Storing personal data
When it comes to selling and storing personal data the CEO of Facebook said that they store data with people’s permission, but they do not sell data to advertisers. When asked if the Cambridge University scientist Aleksandr Kogan sold the data to anyone besides CA, Zuckerberg replied that he did. “We’re investigating every single app that had access to a large amount of information in the past. And if we find that someone improperly used data, we’re going to ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected,” he added.
About the allegations of Russian influence on Facebook, Zuckerberg said that his company was slow in identifying Russian operations in 2016.ApologiesFinally, Zuckerberg, the man behind Facebook and everything the company owns, declared that the goof up was his mistake and he is sorry for it. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here… It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”