Monday 23 April 2018

Zuckerberg testimony: Facebook to investigate 'tens of thousands' of apps

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits down following a break to resume testifying before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Facebook will investigate "tens of thousands" of apps to discover if any other companies have accessed data in a similar way to Cambridge Analytica (CA), Mark Zuckerberg has told US politicians.

The social network says it is in the process of letting up to 87 million users know that their information may have been accessed by CA, and in a packed room on Capitol Hill, Mr Zuckerberg repeated his admission that the company "didn't do enough" to stop its tools "being used for harm".

Speaking to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, the tech entrepreneur apologised that Facebook had not taken a "broad enough view" of its responsibility for people's public information.

"It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here," he said, in words from a prepared statement.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Mr Zuckerberg said its audit of third-party apps would highlight any misuse of personal information, and said the company would alert users instantly if it "found anything suspicious".

When asked why the company did not immediately alert the 87 million users whose data may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica (CA) when first told about the "improper" usage in 2015, Mr Zuckerberg said Facebook considered it a "closed case" after CA said it had deleted it.

"In retrospect it was clearly a mistake to believe them," he said.

CA insists it deleted the data harvested by Professor Aleksandr Kogan's personality quiz app as soon as it was informed it breached Facebook's terms of use.

On the subject of fake news, Mr Zuckerberg said "one of my greatest regrets in running the company" was its slowness at uncovering and acting against disinformation campaigns by Russian trolls during the US election.

He said the Russian campaign of disinformation had been discovered "right around the time" of the US presidential election, and said the company had developed "new AI tools" to identify fake accounts responsible.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits down following a break to resume testifying before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits down following a break to resume testifying before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

But he said: "They are going to keep getting better at this and we need to invest in keeping on getting better at this too."

After two-and-a-half hours of the hearings, Facebook shares were up around 4.5pc on the start of the day, in an apparent signal of investors' view on Mr Zuckerberg's performance.

Press Association

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