After days of silence, Mark Zuckerberg has commented on the Cambridge Analytica data affair. In a post, he humbly showed how the misuse of data could have occurred. Meanwhile, politicians are demanding consequences.
Scandal Cambridge Analytical Data: Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg admits mistakes
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has reported in a Facebook post about the scandal about the alleged misuse of data and admitted mistakes. He explained that Facebook had been disappointed with the confidence of users who entrusted their data to the online network and thought it was safe there. In a CNN interview on Wednesday evening, he then added an apology: “That was a gross breach of trust, and I am very sorry that this happened.”
Zuckerberg pointed out in his statement that the data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, which also worked for Trump’s campaign team, had illegally obtained the data. British professor Aleksandr Kogan launched a Facebook app with a survey on personality types on the platform – and then secretly passed on data from it to Cambridge Analytica. He is also said to have obtained some information from Facebook friends of the survey participants and passed it on without their knowledge.
The Facebook boss promised to protect user data better in the future. Much of the action he has announced is aimed at restricting access for app developers. For example, Facebook apps that have not been used for three months should automatically lose their access rights. Zuckerberg wrote: “I started Facebook and at the end of the day I am responsible for what happens on our platform. In the CNN interview, he added that he wanted to face up to this responsibility – if necessary – and testify at the Congress.
Top Priority Privacy
In his statement, Zuckerberg took a humble tone: “We have a responsibility to protect your data – and if we cannot do this, we do not deserve to serve you. The controversy had brought Facebook the most fierce criticism in years. Politicians in the USA and Europe are demanding stricter rules for data protection on online platforms, on Twitter the hashtag #deletefacebook (delete Facebook) is making the rounds. Zuckerberg’s silence for days in this crisis also met with much incomprehension.
In response, Justice and Consumer Protection Minister Katarina Barley (SPD) announced that she would invite representatives of the company to her ministry to force a statement. EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová even warned in the face of the data scandal that democracy was under threat.
Barley told the Funke media group’s newspapers on Thursday: “The European Facebook management must take a comprehensive position on this scandal vis-à-vis the German government. It is unacceptable that users in social networks are “illuminated against their will to bombard them with election advertising or hate against their political opponents,” she criticized. Clear rules should apply here.
EU Justice Commissioner Jourová said in Washington that the case was not only about the protection of personal data, but it also had “massive effects” on democratic debate and elections. It has interfered with people’s private lives, she added. It was a “vehement manipulation” of opinions that was reflected in the election results.
Over the weekend it became known that the data analysis company Cambridge Analytica was able to gain unauthorized access to data from more than 50 million Facebook users. In the US election campaign, the company is said to have played a decisive role in mobilizing supporters of current President Donald Trump with targeted advertising messages on Facebook and at the same time dissuading potential voters of the opposing candidate Hillary Clinton from voting.