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Zuckerberg Ducks Question About Whether Users Can Trust Facebook

‘So one of the most important things that I think we need to do here is make sure that we tell everyone whose data was affected by one of these rogue apps’
By Grabien Staff

Asked point blank whether users can trust Facebook with their information in an interview on CNN, Mark Zuckerberg halted, and then ducked the question altogether. 

The Facebook founder appeared visibly uncomfortable throughout the interview, frequently acknowledging the company is still trying to get a handle on how many users' data are being inappropriately accessed. 

 "Facebook has asked us to share our data, to share our lives on its platform and wanted us to be transparent," CNN's Laurie Segall asked. "And people don’t feel like they’ve received that same amount of transparency. They’re wondering what’s happening to their data. Can they trust Facebook?"

Rather than directly responding to the question, Zuckerberg said: "Yeah so one of the most important things that I think we need to do here is make sure that we tell everyone whose data was affected by one of these rogue apps, right? And we’re going to do that. We’re going to build a tool where anyone can go and see if their data was a part of this."

Zuckerberg then went on to say that Facebook plans to investigate other apps that might be doing "sketchy things."

"And going forward when we identify apps that are similarly doing sketchy things," he said. "We’re going to make sure that we tell people then too, right? That’s definitely something that looking back on this, you know, I regret that we didn’t do at the time. And I think we got that wrong. And we’re committed to getting that right going forward."

CNN notably did not ask why the Obama campaign, which pioneered the use of harvesting Facebook users' data for political targeting, was not similarly reprimanded like Cambridge Analytica, which Facebook banned from its platform.

Elsewhere in the interview, Zuckerberg acknowledged that Russia's use of Facebook was not transparently supportive of Trump, but rather aimed at dividing Americans. "And, you know, so they run a group on, you know, for pro-immigration reform, and then they'd run another group against immigration reform and just try to pit people against each other."

Here's a transcript of the exchange:

SEGALL: "Facebook has asked us to share our data, to share our lives on its platform and wanted us to be transparent. And people don’t feel like they’ve received that same amount of transparency. They’re wondering what’s happening to their data. Can they trust Facebook?"
ZUCKERBERG: "Yeah so one of the most important things that I think we need to do here is make sure that we tell everyone whose data was affected by one of these rogue apps, right? And we’re going to do that. We’re going to build a tool where anyone can go and see if their data was a part of this."
SEGALL: "So the 50 million people that were impacted, they will be able to tell if they were impacted by this?"
ZUCKERBERG: "Yeah. We’re going to be even conservative on that. We may not have all of the data in our system today. So anyone whose data might have been affected by this, we’re going to make sure that we tell. And going forward when we identify apps that are similarly doing sketchy things, we’re going to make sure that we tell people then too, right? That’s definitely something that looking back on this, you know, I regret that we didn’t do at the time. And I think we got that wrong. And we’re committed to getting that right going forward."
SEGALL: "I want to ask about that because when this came to light, you guys knew this a long time ago, that this data was out there. Why didn’t you tell users? Don’t you think users have the right to know that their data is being used for different purposes?"
ZUCKERBERG: "So yes. And let me tell you what actions we took. So in 2015, some journalists from The Guardian told us that they had seen or had some evidence that data that this app developer, Alexander Kogan, who built this personality quiz app and a bunch of people used it and shared data with it, had sold that data to Cambridge Analytica and a few other firms. When we heard that, that’s against the policies. You can’t share data in a way that people don’t know or don’t consent to. We immediately banned Kogan’s app. And, further, we made it so that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica and the other folks with whom we shared the data — we asked for a formal certification that they had none of the data from anyone in the Facebook community, that they deleted it if they had it, and that they weren’t using it. And they all provided that certification. So as far as we understood around the time of that episode, there was no data out there."

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