Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on Wednesday afternoon on the global crisis facing his company, committing it to a sweeping investigation and major changes.
"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 post on Facebook. "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."
The Facebook CEO had been on the receiving end of media criticism in the four days since The New York Times and The Guardian revealed how Cambridge Analytica obtained the data of 50 million Facebook users before it worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign
Zuckerberg said Facebook will investigate all apps that either had access to large amounts of data prior to fixes it instituted in 2014 or that demonstrate "suspicious activity." The Facebook CEO wrote that the platform will ban any developer that doesn’t consent to an audit or any developer that misused user information.
Facebook will also notify every affected user.
Zuckerberg added that Facebook will tamp down on the kinds of data that developers have access to, such as removing their access if a user hasn’t signed on to the app in three months. The company will only give apps access to users’ names, profile photos, and email addresses. Developers will have to sign a contract to ask for access to posts or other private data.
Zuckerberg said more changes are coming "in the next few days."
Facebook will also notify users of the apps that have access to their data through a tool at the top of the News Feed, giving them the ability to easily revoke access. This feature is available in the platform’s privacy settings, but Facebook will make it more visible to users.
"While this specific issue involving Cambridge Analytica should no longer happen with new apps today, that doesn't change what happened in the past," Zuckerberg wrote. "We will learn from this experience to secure our platform further and make our community safer for everyone going forward."
Zuckerberg also provided a sketch of how Cambridge Analytica obtained the data of some 50 million users in a timeline dating back to 2007. Facebook has begun working with regulators to investigate the situation with the help of an auditor, he said.