“People make mistakes” – Zuckerberg defends position, data breach victim headcount hits 87 million
Mark Zuckerberg is defending his position as Facebook CEO after revelations that the data of up to 87 million users was involved in the Cambridge Analytica breach, including that of 300,000 Australians.
Facebook will be tightening access for third-party apps with changes to its API, features and user toggles. The announcement came in a newsroom post on 4 April, with Facebook listing nine changes to the platform to better protect user information following the Cambridge Analytica data breach earlier this year.
According to an internal review, Facebook says that profile information of up to 87 million users may have been harvested by Cambridge Analytica. Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday that the initial estimate of 50 million came from a third-party.
According to a graphic included in the newsroom post, information from more than 300,000 Australian profiles may have been “improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.”
When asked if he is still the best person to lead the company in the call, Zuckerberg replied, “Yes. People make mistakes and learn along the way. I’m the first to admit we didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibilities are.”
Zuckerberg insisted that the responsibility for the breach was entirely his and that none of Facebook’s employees are losing their jobs as a result, “I’m not looking to throw anyone else under the bus.”
When asked if the board had suggested that he step down as CEO, Zuckerberg replied, “Not that I am aware of”.
Zuckerberg is due to testify in front of US Congress next week, regarding Facebook’s role in Cambridge Analytica’s alleged tampering with the 2016 presidential election.
Still in recovery mode, Facebook will be implementing nine changes over the platform to improve profile information security:
- Events API – Apps will no longer be able to access the guest list or posts on a Facebook event wall. Additionally, apps looking to use the event API will now be subject to Facebook’s approval in agreement to a series of “strict requirements”.
- Group API – Third-party apps will now need approval from both Facebook and a group administrator before being granted access to information from closed group pages. Also, apps will no longer be able access the member list of a group or see pictures and names attached to posts.
- Pages API – All future access will require the approval of Facebook.
- Facebook login – Apps will now require Facebook’s approval before having access to information such as check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups. Additionally, apps will no longer be allowed to ask for access to personal information such as religious or political views, relationship status and details, education and work history, fitness activity and video watch activity.
- Instagram platform API – Facebook is deprecating the old Instagram Graph API, and introducing new features to enhance businesses’ control over their organic Instagram presence.
- Search and account recovery – Previously, users could search the platform for emails and phone numbers to connect with profiles that might be difficult to find by name. Facebook says that malicious actors have abused this feature in the past to scrape public profile information, “we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way.” This feature has been removed from Facebook’s search function.
- Call and text history – Facebook will delete all communication logs older than a year, and will only keep information needed to offer services such as ‘frequent contacts’.
- Data providers and Partner Categories – Facebook is shutting down access to Partner Categories, third-party data providers will no longer be able to offer their targeting directly on Facebook.
- App controls – Starting on 9 April, users will see a link at the top of their newsfeeds to check and toggle the permissions of apps that currently have access to their profiles. Also, users whom may have been involved in the Cambridge Analytica data breach will receive a private message from Facebook along with a link : ‘See how you’re affected.’
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