Facebook co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg apologized Sunday in full-page ads in nine major British and U.S. newspapers for the massive “breach of trust” at the social media giant that revealed personal information of millions of Facebook users.
Zuckerberg did not mention the British firm accused of using the data, the voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica that obtained the cache of information from British researcher Alexsandr Kogan, who had been authorized by Facebook to collect the data as part of an academic study.
Cambridge Analytica was paid $6 million by President Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign for the White House to develop voter profiles.
Zuckerberg said in the ads, “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time” when Kogan developed an app on which 270,000 Facebook users supplied information about themselves. “We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
In all, because of extensive links of friends and associates to the 270,000 Facebook users, 50 million Facebook users may have had their personal data compromised.
“We have a responsibility to protect your information,” Zuckerberg said. “If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.”
The ads ran in six British national newspapers, including the best-selling Mail, The Sunday Times and The Observer, along with The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal in the U.S.
Zuckerberg said Facebook, with 2.2 billion users worldwide, is also investigating “every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.”
A new Reuters-Ipsos poll in the U.S. released Sunday showed that 41 percent of Americans trust Facebook to obey laws that protect their personal information, compared to 66 percent of trust in Amazon; 62 percent in Google; 60 percent in Microsoft and 47 percent in Yahoo.