Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg apologises for leaked data of about 87 million users and says that the company has launched an investigation to determine if other companies aside Cambridge Analytica used users’ data without their consent.
The social network is currently in the middle of a scandal that has cost it so much financial loss; the company has since February lost $100b in stock value. Since the scandal, the company has had to face questions from the media, lawmakers and regulatory agencies. The British based political consulting firm is believed to have exploited the private information of 87 million users without Facebook’s authorisation.
While Mark Zuckerberg has been in the news for the past weeks, Sheryl Sandberg has been out of sight until Thursday when she came out to apologise for the data exploitation. She said:
“We know that we did not do enough to protect people’s data. I’m really sorry for that. Mark is really sorry for that, and we’re doing now is taking really firm action.”
She notified the media of the steps that the company will take to correct the error and prevent future mistakes. For starters, Facebook would inform all the individuals that whose data had been abused as it had promised in its reviewed policy. However, the noted that the company would not be doing the same thing to the 126 million Facebook users in Russia who were victims of misinformation via the accounts linked to the troll factory that interfered in the US 2016 election.
She said further that a mistake the social made was not thinking enough about the abuse. They had probably imagined that the issue would never come to light until the whistle blower blew the trumpet. “We really believe in social experiences. We really believed in protecting privacy. But we were way too idealistic. We didn’t think enough about the abuse cases.”
What’s a more severe concern for Facebook is the Federal Trade Commission’s probe to determine if Facebook is acquitted from the 2011 consent decree of not allowing third-party developers to have undue access to users’ information without an authorisation from Facebook. What’s devastating is the penalty for flouting the order. The cost per violation is as high as $40,000 per abused data. It’s unthinkable to imagine the cost of the overall number, although Sandberg confidently said that Facebook has complied with the regulation for years.
Sandberg also assured the media that Facebook would not be involved in misinformation in the upcoming elections like it was involved in the previous. The social network plans to take very drastic measures to ensure there are no foreign interference. “We certainly know people want accurate information, not false news on Facebook, and we take that really serious,” she said.
Facebook remains a dominant force amongst other social media platforms in digital advertising with over two billion users.