Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, in prepared testimony for the US House of Representatives, apologised saying all of Facebook’s problems are his mistake.
The detailed statement published in the U.S. House of Representatives Document Repository, recounts many of the updates Facebook has made to improve security since revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultant with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, obtained information on as many as 87 million users without their consent, Bloomberg reported.
In his statement Zuckerberg suggests that the company didn’t do enough to prevent misuse because the company was ‘idealistic and optimistic’. The world’s largest social-media platform chief said his company now recognises that it made a ‘big mistake’ in failing to put sufficient procedures in place to prevent such incidents.
Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can bring. As Facebook has grown, people everywhere have gotten a powerful new tool to stay connected to the people they love, make their voices heard, and build communities and businesses. Just recently, we’ve seen the #metoo movement and the March for Our Lives, organized, at least in part, on Facebook. After Hurricane Harvey, people raised more than $20 million for relief. And more than 70 million small businesses now use Facebook to grow and create jobs.
But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.
Zuckerberg then goes to explain what happened with London-based elections consultancy firm that is right in the centre of the embroglio, and details the steps initiated by his company for such incidents being repeated.
In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent, so we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and other entities he gave the data to, including Cambridge Analytica, formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data — which they ultimately did.
Last month, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to investigate this.
Highlighting his company has significantly increased investment in security, Facebook's founder said, "We now have about 15,000 people working on security and content review. We’ll have more than 20,000 by the end of this year."
According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg faced criticism not only from the Congress but also from US president's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, who told reporters that he hoped Zuckerberg would present himself professionally. “Is he going to wear a suit and tie and clean white shirt?” Kudlow said. “That’s my bigger question. Is he going to behave like an adult, as a major corporate leader?”
Zuckerberg's detailed seven-page testimony can be accessed here.