Saturday 26 May 2018

Pressure mounts on Facebook after CEO admission

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

Dustin Volz

Facebook came under further pressure yesterday, the day after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted the social media network made mistakes in letting 50 million users' data get into the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

US lawmakers demanded Mr Zuckerberg personally testify in Washington to explain his company's actions.

Meanwhile, advertisers Mozilla and Commerzbank suspended ads on the service and the hashtag #DeleteFacebook remained popular online, although it was hard to tell how many users were abandoning Facebook. In light of those concerns, investors continued to sell off Facebook shares.

The company has lost more than $50bn in market value since allegations this week that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed data to build profiles on American voters and influence the 2016 presidential election.

Five days after the scandal broke, Mr Zuckerberg apologised on Wednesday for mistakes his company made and promised to restrict developers' access to user information as part of a plan to improve privacy protection.

Sorry

Yesterday, Facebook executives were still saying sorry.

"It was a mistake," Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said at the 'Financial Times' FT Future of News Conference in New York City. Mr Zuckerberg's apology and promises were not enough to ease political pressure on the world's largest social media company.

"It shouldn't be for a company to decide what is the appropriate balance between privacy and innovation and use of data. Those rules should be set by society as a whole and so by parliament," British minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, told BBC Radio.

Mr Zuckerberg's media rounds did little to satisfy Washington lawmakers in either political party who have demanded this week that the billionaire testify before Congress.

Irish Independent

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