After nearly five days of silence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has finally spoken up about a scandal in which an outside firm, Cambridge Analytica, collected the data of 50 million unknowing users of the social network.
Zuckerberg did not apologize, but he did promise to make certain changes.
"We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you," Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Facebook today (March 21). "I've been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn't happen again."
In the post, Zuckerberg puts the blame on Cambridge Analytica and researcher Aleksandr Kogan, calling the retention of user data a "breach of trust." But he also listed steps that the company will take to prevent similar abuse in the future. The first is more thorough audits of developers, with a promise to ban anyone who misuses user data. Zuckerberg also said they'll inform users whose data was mishandled, including those in this incident.
Additionally, he wrote that Facebook will remove developer access to user data if an app hasn't been used in three months and will further reduce the data you need to use an app to just your name, profile photo and email address. "We'll require developers to not only get approval but also sign a contract in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data," Zuckerberg writes.
Zuckerberg also promised to put a tool on the top of the News Feed to ensure users know which apps have access to which permissions.
Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg shared the post and added her own comments, but also did not apologize. Neither executive commented on data Facebook itself collects, but focused on third-party apps.
This scandal, and Facebook's handling of it, has resulted in massive issues for the company, including a drop in market cap of more than $50 billion and a massive #DeleteFacebook campaign that took part largely on rival social network, Twitter. Cambridge Analytica may have used user data to create and target ads for President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.
Zuckerberg is slated to appear on CNN tonight at 9 p.m. ET.