Mark Zuckerberg admits making a 'huge mistake' in Facebook data leak

Apr 05, 2018, 13:23 IST | PTI

Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook in 2004, once again admitted the lapses and asked for another chance to lead the company

Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday admitted making a "huge mistake" as personal data of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, a figure higher than the previous estimate of 50 million.

Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook in 2004, once again admitted the lapses and asked for another chance to lead the company. Embroiled in a massive data breach following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook yesterday said data on about 87 million people - mostly in the US - may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Last month, the number of users whose information was improperly shared with research firm Cambridge Analytica was previously estimated by media reports to be 50 million. Zuckerberg, 33, told reporters that he accepted blame for the data leak, which has angered users, advertisers and lawmakers, while also saying he was still the right person to head the company he founded.

"Give me another chance," he told reporters during a conference call when asked if he is still the best person to lead the company.

"This a huge mistake. It's my mistake," Zuckerberg said, taking the blame for the massive data breach.

"Yes. People make mistakes and learn along the way. I'm the first to admit we didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibilities are...What people should hold us accountable for is learning from the mistakes," he said.

He said he was unaware of the board asking him to step down against the backdrop of the data breach scandal. "Not that I am aware of...Nobody has been fired because of this scandal," he said when asked if the board has asked him to step down in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"I have not, due to the CA situation, yet. We're still working through this. At the end of the day, this is my responsibility. There have been a bunch of questions about that. I started this place, I run it, I'm responsible for what happens here," he told reporters.

"I'm not looking to throw anyone else under the bus for mistakes we made here," he said. Zuckerberg said the scandal has not much dented into its business.

"I don't think there's been any meaningful impact that we've observed. But, look, it's not good ... It still speaks to people feeling like this was a massive breach of trust and that we have a lot of work to do to repair that," he said, seeking to downplay the crisis that followed the data breach.

Responding to a question, Zuckerberg said it will take years for Facebook to fix the problem. "It will be a multi-year process to combat disinformation," he said, adding that this will be a "never-ending battle."

"I'm confident we're making progress against these adversaries but they're very sophisticated. We can't expect to fully solve a problem like this," Zuckerberg said. He acknowledged that Facebook did not do enough to check the fake news.

"We didn't do enough, we didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well. And that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech, in addition to developers and data privacy," he said.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before a Congressional committee on data breach next week. "This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online. We appreciate Zuckerberg's willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions," said committee Chairman Congressman Greg Walden, and the Ranking Member Frank Pallone.

Also Read: Facebook Privacy Scandal: Mark Zuckerberg Issues Full-Page Apology

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