Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once again took full responsibility for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, saying “clearly we didn’t do enough ... we didn’t take a broad enough view of what responsibility is, and that’s my mistake.”
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Zuckerberg defended in a call with reporters on Wednesday his decision to continue to run his company – and said no one has been fired over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. "I’m responsible for what happened here ... I am not looking to throw anyone under the bus for mistakes that we’ve made here,” he said. Zuckerberg said his testimony in front of Congress on April 11 will “cover a lot of ground,” saying, “I’m the first to admit we didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibilities were.”
He said the company found out about the potential 87 million users affected over the past few days as it got a better understanding of the size and scope of the data mess. He also said the company had no incentive to lie about the number of users affected by the scandal. Originally, the company estimated that 50 million users were affected. Zuckerberg said 87 million is the largest potential number of users that could have had their information accessed by Cambridge Analytica.
Zuckerberg pulled back earlier comments he made that called the impact of fake news on Facebook users “crazy,” saying, “I made a mistake by dismissing fake news as crazy ... people will analyze the impact of this for long time to come … it was too flippant, and I should never have referred to it as crazy.”
While Zuckerberg is taking responsibility for what went wrong, he took the opportunity to remind users that all the information that was accessed, stashed and sold was information users chose to share on Facebook.
He added that the company did not employ “tracking” methods that some tech companies use to get data.
Zuckerberg added: “People actually share info on facebook; people understand how much content is there ... I want to kick this notion that we sell data; we don’t. It would be counter to our own incentives. It wouldn’t make sense for us to do that."
He also responded to tweets from Cambridge Analytica that claim it only had access to 30 million users accounts and also that it deleted all data. “I don’t think what we announced today really is connected to what they just said at all," he said. "What we announced of the 87 million is the maximum number of people that we could calculate could have been accessed."
He said Facebook does not know the actual number.
Zuckerberg said Cambridge Analytica has agreed to a full forensic audit of their system. In the meantime, Facebook is waiting for the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office to investigate.
"We’ve stood down temporarily to let ICO do their investigation and audit, and once that’s done, we’ll resume ours, so we can get answers."
When Zuckerberg was asked if the #deletefacebook movement had any impact on the company's bottom line or user growth, he said he doesn’t think there’s been “any meaningful impact” but added that it’s “not good.”
Zuckerberg said fixing everything that led up to the Cambridge Analytica scandal is going to be a multiyear effort for the company. He added that "it doesn’t mean it’s not going to get better every month” and said Facebook is looking at a “massive three-year push.”