Facebook’s disastrous week: How Mark Zuckerberg failed to win back public trust

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s mishandling of the company’s data mining controversy that affected millions of users was not only irresponsible, but could signal trouble for the social media giant, venture capitalist Roger McNamee warned.

“There’s a lot of things Facebook could be doing today to show it’s going to earn people’s trust back,” McNamee told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Friday. “And that’s what they failed to do this week.”McNamee, the managing director of Elevation Partners and a former mentor to Zuckerberg, said that in order for Facebook to regain the public’s trust, officials first need to come forward and accept responsibility for the mistakes it made.

The California-based company first came under fire when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica misused the personal information of at least 50 million users during the 2016 presidential election campaign. That occurred despite a Federal Trade Commission consent decree signed by Facebook in 2011, which required the company to obtain informed consent before sharing people’s personal data.

But Cambridge Analytica, a United Kingdom-based company, reportedly sent a researcher, under the guise of doing academic research, to gather the data of Facebook users for political use. The reports roiled Facebook investors and caused the social media giant’s stock to plunge in trading. Share are down roughly 9% this week, and Zuckerberg’s personal net worth has declined by several billion dollars.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FB FACEBOOK, INC. 352.96 +7.00 +2.02%

When Facebook discovered what Cambridge Analytica had done with the material, it ordered the software company to destroy the data, but did not validate that it had been done.“In my mind, for Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, this is a moment of truth,” McNamee said. “This is a moment where their character’s being tested, and where, frankly, so far, it’s not going well. This has been a disastrous week for them.”

The billionaire tech leader first addressed the scandal on Wednesday, saying Facebook would ban apps that refuse audits of data usage practices

In his first public comments since revelations that Cambridge Analytica misused the personal information of millions of users during the 2016 presidential election campaign, Zuckerberg acknowledged it was a “breach of trust” and said that the social media giant will ban apps that refuse audits of data usage practices.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”

But McNamee said the company hadn’t done enough to show users they would earn their trust back.

“I know these people,” he said. “They are better than what’s going on right now.”