Facebook CEO Zuckerberg: 'We Didn't Do Enough to Prevent' Election Interference

April 10, 2018

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed privacy concerns during a Senate hearing on Tuesday and defended his company's values, despite controversies related to the 2016 presidential election.

In a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, Zuckerberg testified about the use of data by Cambridge Analytica, a firm employed by Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Zuckerberg said Facebook "failed" to protect users' information in the case of Cambridge Analytica, which used millions of users' data to target voters in the 2016 election.

"When we first contacted Cambridge Analytica, they told us they had deleted the data. About a month ago we heard new reports that suggested that wasn't true," Zuckerberg said. "And now we are working with governments in the U.S., U.K., and around the world to do a full audit of what they've done and get rid of any data they may still have."

The Facebook founder also outlined some steps the company is taking to protect data in the future by monitoring apps and banning developers who violate the rules.

"To make sure no other app developer out there is misusing data, we are investigating every single app that had access to a large amount of information in the past," he said. "If we find that someone improperly used data, we are going to ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected."

Zuckerberg also spoke more broadly about his company's aims to deal with other politically charged issues, such as fake news and hate speech.

"It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well, and that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy," he said. "We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake—and it was my mistake and I'm sorry."

Beyond apologizing for Facebook's shortcomings, Zuckerberg told the senators that he thought he had a responsibility to make online social connections positive.

"It's not enough to just connect people," he said. "We have to make sure that those connections are positive. It's not enough to give people a voice; we need to make sure that people aren't using it to harm other people or spread misinformation."

Zuckerberg concluded his statement by saying that Facebook's challenges are also challenges facing all Americans.