Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg outlined a series of steps the company intends to make that would further restrict app developer access to data information after the company found itself Friday at the center of a data abuse scandal impacting some 50 million 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 Wednesday, marking the first time the ceo has addressed the issue. “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.”
Facebook found out Friday steps it had taken over the past few years to stem the amount of data app developers could access from users may have been faulty. In 2014, the company began requiring developers to obtain permission first from Facebook if they were requesting sensitive information from users. The following year the company was made aware that Cambridge University professor Aleksandr Kogan’s app, created in 2013 and installed by some 300,000 people, had shared the data he obtained with data firm Cambridge Analytica. At the time, Facebook contends it was assured the data that had been passed on to Cambridge Analytica had been deleted.
The issue came to a head Friday when the company found out through the media that the data may not have actually been wiped, with Facebook now conducting a forensic audit on the matter.
“This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it,” Zuckerberg said. “We need to fix that.”
The company plans to investigate all apps that may have had access to user information before the 2014 changes limiting such access were made. Zuckerberg said the company will also further restrict app developer access to user information and the company intends to make it easier to use an already existing tool that would allow for an easier route to severing an app’s ability to access a Facebook user’s data.