Facebook chief executive makes first public statement days after Cambridge Analytica data usage was exposed

Facebook Inc. FB, -3.34%  Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on saturday issued his first statement on the data controversy that has engulfed the social network since the weekend, outlining three steps the company is taking to address the issue.

Below is the full statement issued by Zuckerberg on his Facebook page Wednesday.

I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation. Including  steps we’ve already taken and our next step to fix this important issue.

We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you. I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We have already taken the actions to prevent this from happening again, years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.



Here’s a timeline of the events:

In 2007

we launched the Facebook Platform with the vision that more apps should be social. Your calendar should be able to show your friends’ birthdays. Maps should show where your friends live. Address book should show their pictures. To do this, we enabled people to log into apps and share who their friends were and some information about them.

In 2013

A Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data. At that time, Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends’ data.

In 2014

To prevent abusive apps, we announced the entire platform to dramatically limit the data apps could access. Most importantly, apps could no longer ask for data about a person’s friends unless their friends had authorized the app too. We also required developers to get approval from us before they could request any sensitive data from people. These actions would prevent any app like Kogan’s from being able to access so much data today.

In 2015,

We learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent. We immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform. We demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.

Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. They claim, they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this. We’re also working with regulators as they investigate what happened.

This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it.

In this case, we already took the most important steps a few years ago in 2014 to prevent bad actors from accessing people’s information in this way. But there’s more we need to do and I’ll outline those steps here:

First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014. We 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. If we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone. That includes people whose data, Kogan misused here as well.

Second, we will restrict developers’ data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months. 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.

Third, we want to make sure you understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. In the next month, we will show everyone a tool at the top of your News Feed and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data. We already have a tool to do this in your privacy settings. We will put this at the top of your News Feed to make sure everyone can see it.

I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about, what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps, that doesn’t change what happened in the past. We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.

I want to thank all of you who continue to believe in our mission and work to build this community together. I know it will take longer to fix all these issues, but I promise, we’ll work through this and build a better service over the long term.

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