Facebook's crisis timeline

A News Feed of Facebook's data collection crisis, in chronological order.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

March 27
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress to answer questions about how the data of 50 million Facebook users fell into the hands of Cambridge Analytica and how it will better safeguard user privacy in the future, according to CNNMoney.

March 26
The Federal Trade Commission confirms it’s investigating Facebook.

While Facebook’s stock price has declined steeply since the data crisis began, its goodwill with the public has also plunged, according to an Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) called on technology CEOs to testify in front of Congress.

March 25
Facebook took out full-page ads in nine newspapers in the U.S. and U.K., apologizing for a "breach in trust."

The company rebuked reports that it’s logging users’ call and SMS data without permission with a "fact check." The company claimed it’s "part of an opt-in feature" for Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android, adding it never sells the data and "you are always in control of the information you share."

A poll found that Americans are less likely to trust Facebook with their personal data than its rivals.

March 24
An Ars Technica story reported that Facebook "surreptitiously" collected call and SMS data for years from Android users, including names, phone numbers, and the length of calls.

March 22
Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said the company threatening to sue reporters from The Guardian who were investigating the Cambridge Analytica story wasn’t the "wisest move."

March 21
Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence with a lengthy Facebook post. "We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you," he wrote. Zuckerberg outlined the steps Facebook is taking to head off bad actors and how the data breach happened in the first place.

Zuckerberg later blitzed the media with interviews with Wired, The New York Times, Recode, and CNN.

March 20
The U.K. government sent a letter to Zuckerberg pressing him to testify. "It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process," wrote Damian Collins, chair of Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. "Given your commitment at the start of the New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I hope that this representative will be you."

Facebook’s market value dropped by almost $50 billion, representing the stock’s largest two-day loss.

Cambridge Analytica suspended CEO Alexander Nix.

March 19
Facebook hired Stroz Friedberg to audit Cambridge Analytica. While Alexander Kogan, the developer of the app that gained access to the Facebook users, also agreed to an audit, Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who revealed the data misuse, declined to participate.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to call on Zuckerberg to testify before Congress.

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer, was reportedly set to exit the company over disagreements about how to handle the spread of disinformation and deal with the controversy in public.

Guardian reporters said Facebook tried to block the Cambridge Analytica story by threatening to sue them.

Channel 4 aired a sting investigation of Cambridge Analytica, featuring footage and audio of Nix making damning statements.

March 18
Social media lit up with a new hashtag campaign: #DeleteFacebook.

March 17
The New York Times and The Guardian dropped their bombshell reports detailing how Cambridge Analytica accessed the information of tens of millions of Americans.

March 16
Facebook said it’s suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories and subsidiary Cambridge Analytica, a political data analytics firm credited with playing a key role in President Donald Trump’s election and the Vote Leave Brexit campaign.

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