Zuckerberg Says Facebook Correcting Its “Mistakes” To Protect User Profiles

Breaking his silence after a firestorm of revelations about Facebook’s links to a shadowy political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced this afternoon that the company is taking further steps to prevent unauthorized access to users’ personal information. The Facebook CEO was responding to news that data research firm Cambridge Analytica had collected 50 million Facebook profiles and allegedly used them in its election campaign-related work.

In a written statement, Zuckerberg said the company will cancel any app’s access to the personal data of Facebook users who haven’t used the app in three months. Facebook will make it easier for users to see which apps they’ve allowed to access their data, and to cancel that permission if they so choose. The social media giant will further tighten up app developers’ access to users’ data as they sign on to use new ones going forward. Also, it will investigate apps that amassed large troves of user data in the past, and audit them if necessary to root out misuse of the information. Uncooperative apps will be banned from the site, he says.

The company will announce more modifications within days, Zuckerberg says.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg said. “I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Facebook started making changes back in 2014 to restrict the easier access to personal data that existed under older rules prevailing in 2013, when an academic researcher used a quiz app to reap the millions of profiles he later shared with Cambridge Analytica, Zuckerberg says.

“But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it,” Zuckerberg says.

Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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