BOSTON (CBS) – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was all over the media on Wednesday trying to save face after a major data breach affecting millions of users.
But was his apology credible?
A shady political consulting firm – Cambridge Analytica of London – took the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users, then used it to bolster the Trump campaign. And the news has the world’s largest social network scrambling to do damage control.
But Zuckerberg’s spin didn’t necessarily inspire confidence.
“I’m really sorry that this happened,” said Zuckerberg in a CNN interview, and there’s no doubt that’s the truth. After all, he’s lost over three billion dollars as Facebook stock has dropped in the wake of the scandal.
But is he sorry enough to fix what’s broken about Facebook, even if it means even more money out of his pocket?
“We’re gonna go now and investigate every app that has access to a large amount of information from before we locked down our platform,” he told CNN. But when the interviewer asked “how do you know there aren’t hundreds more companies like Cambridge Analytica that are also keeping data that violates Facebook policies?” Zuckerberg stammered and changed the subject.
Zuckerberg kept citing past security precautions he’s taken, saying: “This isn’t rocket science. Right? And there’s a lot of hard work that we need to do but we can get in front of this.”
But the Cambridge Analytica fiasco shows they haven’t gotten in front of their privacy issues. And in an interview with recode.net, Zuckerberg’s reluctance to assume responsibility for the content his platform promotes was on display: “Where is the line on hate speech? I mean, who chose me to be the person that [polices it]? …I have to, because [I lead Facebook], but I’d rather not.”
“Will you testify before Congress?” asked the CNN reporter. “So, the short answer is I’m happy to if it’s the right thing to do,” said Zuckerberg, who went on to make it clear he’d rather send an underling.
Translation: I want the power and perks of being boss, but not the heat that comes with it.
When he first started Facebook as a Harvard undergraduate in 2004, Zuckerberg expressed contempt for the people who were “dumb” enough to share their personal data with him.
And it seems he still harbors the notion that legitimate concerns over privacy and security can be glibly spun away.