Facebook's Zuckerberg admits mistakes – but no apology
NEW YORK (AP) — Breaking more than four days of silence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted mistakes and outlined steps to protect user data in light of a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm.
Zuckerberg said today Facebook has a "responsibility" to protect its users' data and if it fails, "we don't deserve to serve you."
But Zuckerberg stopped short of apologizing.
And he wrote "what happened" instead of "what we did," leaving Facebook one step removed from responsibility.
Richard Levick, chairman of the crisis-management firm Levick, gave Zuckerberg's response a "B-" grade, in part because how late it came.
Zuckerberg and Facebook's No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, had been quiet since news broke Friday that Cambridge Analytica may have used data improperly obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users to try to sway elections. Cambridge's clients included Donald Trump's general-election campaign.
Facebook shares have dropped some 8 percent, lopping about $46 billion off the company's market value, since the revelations were first published.
Even before the scandal broke, Facebook has already taken the most important steps to prevent a recurrence, Zuckerberg said. For example, in 2014, it reduced access outside apps had to user data. Some of the measures, however, didn't take effect until a year later, allowing Cambridge to access the data in the intervening months.
Zuckerberg acknowledges that there is more to do.
In a Facebook post today, Zuckerberg said it will ban developers who don't agree to an audit. An app's developer will no longer have access to data from people who haven't used that app in three months. Data will also be generally limited to user names, profile photos and email, unless the developer signs a contract with Facebook and gets user approval.