Facebook CEO offers no apology for scandal


Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif.

With a smile that suggested the hard part of an “intense year” may be behind him, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed developers Tuesday and pledged the company will build its way out of its worst privacy debacle.

It was a clear and deliberate turning point for a company that’s been hunkered down since mid-March. For the first time in several weeks, Zuckerberg went before a public audience and didn’t apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political data-mining firm accessed data from as many as 87 million Facebook accounts for the purpose of influencing elections. Or for a deluge of fake news and Russian election interference.

Instead, Zuckerberg sought to project a “we’re all in this together” mood that was markedly different from his demeanor during 10 hours of congressional testimony just a few weeks ago. His presentation also marked a major change for the company, which seems relieved to be largely done with the damage control that has preoccupied it for the past six weeks.

On Tuesday, speaking in San Jose, Calif., at the F8 gathering of software developers, Zuckerberg said to cheers that the company is re-opening app reviews, the process that gets new and updated apps on its services, which Facebook had shut down in late March as a result of the privacy scandal.

Zuckerberg then vowed to “keep building” and reiterated that Facebook is investing a lot in security and in strengthening its systems so they can’t be exploited to meddle with elections, including the U.S. midterms later this year. The company previously had announced almost all of those measures.

“The hardest decision I made wasn’t to invest in safety and security,” Zuckerberg said. “The hard part was figuring out how to move forward on everything else we need to do, too.”

He also unveiled a new feature that gives users the ability to clear their browsing history from the platform, much the same way people can do in web browsers.

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