After appearing to go into hiding following the recent news of a serious data scandal involving Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally broken his silence on the matter.
It’s been alleged that consulting firm Cambridge Analytica collected data from around 50 million Facebookers without consent to use for Donald Trump’s US presidential campaign in 2016.
As a result, users have boycotted Facebook in droves (with the #DeleteFacebook hashtag trending worldwide on Twitter), while regulators and politicians have called for Zuckerberg to issue a ‘please explain’.
Now, five days after the scandal broke, Facebook’s leader has today issued a response that includes a detailed timeline of events.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” the statement read.
“I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”
Zuckerberg said Facebook will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before the platform was updated to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity.
“We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit,” he said.
“And if we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps. That includes people whose data Kogan misused here as well.”
Facebook will also restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse.
“For example, we will remove developer’’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in three months,” Zuckerberg explained.
“We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in to only your name, profile photo, and email address.
“We’ll require developers to not only get approval, but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data. And we’ll have more changes to share in the next few days.”
Zuckerberg said the final step will be to make sure Facebook users understand which apps they’ve allowed to access your data.
“In the next month, we will show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data,” he said.
“We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings, and now we will put this tool at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone sees it.”