Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence when he issued a statement on Wednesday, addressing last week’s reports that a data analytics company that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Cambridge Analytica, stole data from millions of Facebook users.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. 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.”
He included a detailed timeline of the events leading up to the alleged data leak, which dated back to 2007. Zuckerberg said it wasn’t until last week that he learned Cambridge Analytica didn’t initially delete the “improperly acquired data” like the company had claimed to do.
“Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re also working with regulators as they investigate what happened.”
Related: A Firm That Worked With The Trump Campaign Allegedly Stole Private Data From 50 Million Facebook Users
Zuckerberg’s post also included steps for moving forward.
Facebook intends to investigate any apps that have had access to its users’ data prior to a 2014 change that limited the information they could obtain. Should Facebook find that any app developer “misused personally identifiable information,” they’ll be banned and the app’s users will be notified. Apps that don’t cooperate with the audit will also be banned.
The second step Zuckerberg outlined will limit the data apps currently have access to.
“For example, we will remove developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months,” Zuckerberg said. “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.”
He added that Facebook will have more changes to share on the second step in the next few days.
Lastly, Facebook plans to add a tool that will help users understand which apps have access to their data, and how to then revoke those apps’ permission. The tool already existed, but Zuckerberg said it will now be present at the top of everyone’s News Feed.
“I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn’t change what happened in the past,” he wrote. “We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward.”
Read the full post here.