There is a campaign on Twitter to #DeleteFacebook. Even Brian Acton, the WhatsApp co-founder who became a billionaire when Facebook acquired his cross-platform mobile messaging service, is supporting the movement. Facebook is likely to survive the recent turmoil stemming from a scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and the mishandling of private data of millions of Facebook users, but the importance of the moment is not lost on Mark Zuckerberg, who issued an apology for what went down.
"I'm really sorry this happened," the Facebook co-founder and CEO told CNN's Larie Segall during a television interview. "We have a basic responsibility to protect people's data, and if we can't do that then we don't deserve to have the opportunity to serve people."
His comments echo a lengthy statement and timeline of events that he posted to Facebook yesterday, in which he made the same remark about having a responsibility to protect people's data. What was missing from his post, however, was an outright apology.
Zuckerberg also expressed regret for having waited so long to disclose what happened with Cambridge Analytica. Going forward, he views this as another learning experience.
"I started this when I was so young and inexperienced," Zuckerberg said. "I made technical errors and business errors. I hired the wrong people. I trusted the wrong people."
In this case, Zuckerberg maintains that it was a security breach per se, but a "major breach of trust." In case you missed our previous coverage on the topic, what happened is a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app that was installed by around 300,000 Facebook people. In doing so, those uses shared some of their data and their friends data. Based on how Facebook's policies worked at the time, Kogan was able to access data belonging to upwards of 50 million Facebook users, which he improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.
That data may have been used to influence the presidential election, though there is no concrete proof of that. Either way, sharing the data with Cambridge Analytica ran afoul of Facebook's rules, and Facebook recently banned the company after hearing reports that it did not delete the data as requested.
"Our responsibility now is to make sure that this doesn't happen again," Zuckerberg said.
Thumbnail and Top Image Source: Flickr via Anthony Quintano