Facebook has done many questionable things, but the company’s latest actions have landed them in some serious trouble. Since news broke that data mining company Cambridge Analytica misused private information from more than 50 million Facebook users (sparking the #DeleteFacebook movement), heads of the social media platform have been scrambling for a way to smooth things over. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now promising to do a better job protecting your Facebook privacy.
After #DeleteFacebook began trending and took off this week, users have been waiting for Zuckerberg to speak up about what happened with the data firm. Last week, a whistleblower told the Guardian that Cambridge Analytica went against Facebook privacy policies by harvesting the data of millions of users, then allegedly used that info to help the Trump campaign target advertisements.
Facebook found out what was going on and asked Cambridge Analytica to delete the data, but some say Facebook didn’t do enough to confirm the data was truly gone. On top of that, Facebook allowed the company to continue using the platform up until a few weeks ago, and the company may have kept all of that data even when it was told to get rid of it.
Yesterday, Zuckerberg released a statement on Facebook explaining his company’s side of the story and saying this was “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.”
He said that the company changed its privacy policies in 2014 in an effort to ensure something like this would never happen.
Zuckerberg then outlined a plan for how to do a better job at protecting users’ data, saying the company will investigate apps that have access to a lot of information and ban developers who don’t agree to an audit.
He said the company will revoke developers’ access to data from users who haven’t used their app in three months, as well as reducing the data you give an app when you sign in. Lastly, Zuckerberg said Facebook will do a better job at showing users which apps have access to your private info by listing them at the top of your NewsFeed.
In a follow-up interview with CNN last night, Zuckerberg apologized and admitted that Facebook had messed up:
He also discussed the fact that the company could have done more when it first found out about the data breach, like taking harsher action against Cambridge Analytica.
And he admitted that Facebook made a mistake by not letting users know what happened: “That’s definitely something that, looking back on this, I regret that we didn’t do at the time. I think we got that wrong.”
CNN’s Laurie Segall also asked Zuckerberg if he thinks Facebook helped to impact the 2016 presidential election, and he said, “Oh that’s — that is hard. You know, I think that it is — it’s really hard for me to have a full assessment of that.”
While it’s nice to hear Zuckerberg apologize, admit that he made a mistake, and outline a plan for the future, for many users, it doesn’t make a difference:
For now, we can only wait to see if the Facebook privacy and data policies change after this breach. We’ll keep an eye on the situation.