Mark Zuckerberg insists he is still the person to lead Facebook, despite the companying revealing a further 37 million users were hit by the Cambridge Analytica (CA) data scandal.
A question-and-answer session took place with members of the press on April 4, just hours after the social network revealed it had found that the Facebook information of up to 87 million people — mostly in the US — had been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a British data firm.
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CA whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who first brought the scandal to light a fortnight ago, said the data of 50 million users had been shared with the company. The admission that millions more users had been implicated was buried in the penultimate paragraph of a 12-paragraph blog post published by Facebook's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer.
When asked if Facebook's board of executives have discussed the possibility of Zuckerberg stepping down from his roles of chief executive and chairman of the board, the 33-year-old said: "Not that I'm aware of."
Taking on more responsibility for the actions of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica than we have seen before, Zuckerberg said, in response to being asked if firings will be made: "At the end of the day, this is my responsibility...I started this place. I run it. And I am responsible for what happens here...I still think that I'm going to do the best job to help run it going forward. I'm not looking to throw anyone else under the bus for mistakes that we've made here."
Zuckerberg suggested that mistakes would be inevitable when building a new company like Facebook. "When you're building something like Facebook which is unprecedented in the world, there are things that you're going to mess up. What I think people should hold us accountable for is if we are learning from our mistakes."
A specific mistake Zuckerberg addressed was his describing the idea Facebook helped spread so-called 'fake news' as "crazy". He said: "I clearly made a mistake by just dismissing fake news as 'crazy'...People will analyze the actual impact of this for a long time to come, but what I think was clear at this point is that it was too flippant. I should have never referred to it as crazy. This is clearly a problem that requires careful work".
His comments come as Zuckerberg prepares to testify before the US House Commerce Committee on April 11.
'Most' of Facebook's two billion users could 'have had public profile scraped'
Schroepfer said Facebook has removed a feature where users could search for others using their phone number or email address. Entering a phone number in the universal search bar would, until this week, return that user's Facebook page. "Malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery," Schroepfer said, adding: "Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we've seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way."
Zuckerberg also admitted to not doing enough to prevent abuse of its platform - abuse which led to an innocent-looking quiz app gathering up data of 87 million unsuspecting users, most of whom never used the app. "We didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm," Zuckerberg admitted. "That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech, in addition to developers and data privacy.
"We didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake. It was my mistake."
Facebook privacy changes break Tinder, delete matches and chat logs
As the conference call was taking place, fallout of the scandal reached Tinder users, who found they had been kicked out of the dating app - which requires a Facebook login to gain access - and were unable to log back in. The issue, due to Facebook adjusting how third parties can access user data, was resolved hours later, but on logging back in some Tinder users found their matches and conversations with fellow users had disappeared.