Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of under-fire social networking firm Facebook, has finally emerged from his bunker to admit that his company "made mistakes" over sharing users' data with third parties.
Or rather, Zuckerberg has finally posted something about the Cambridge Analytica affair on his own personal Facebook page. It follows claims that the data analysis company had harvested personal data from 50 million Facebook users in a not entirely straightforward manner.
"The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago," Zuckerberg claimed, referring to changes made to Facebook's developer platform policies in 2014 that stopped app developers from gathering data about the friends of people using their apps.
However, before these changes were made four years ago, University academic Aleksandr Kogan - in collaboration with Cambridge Analytica - built an app called 'Thisisyourdigital life' that paid around 300,000 users to take a personality test and agree to have their data collected for academic use.
The app, however, also collected the information of the test-takers' Facebook friends, which led to the accumulation of a data pool "tens of millions strong".
"In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica," Zuck admitted.
"We immediately banned Kogan's app from our platform and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.
"Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified," he added.
Zuckerberg went on to pledge that, while it has already moved to "prevent bad actors from accessing people's information", the social network will be taking further steps to protect user data.
"First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity," Zuck says, adding: "We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit."
Facebook has already blocked Kogan, who claims he's being "scapegoated", whistleblower Chris Wylie and, naturally, Cambridge Analytica, despite the firm's claims that it's, er, did nothing wrong.
Zuckerberg continues: "We will restrict developers' data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers' access to your data if you haven't used their app in three months.
"We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in -- to only your name, profile photo, and email address."
Zuckerberg went on to promise that the company will be more transparent over data usage, and will show remaining Facebook users "a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you've used and an easy way to revoke those apps' permissions to your data."
Or you could just delete your account and be done with. That's exactly what Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp made a billionaire by Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of his company, has recommended if you want to put a stop, once and for all, to Facebook's rapacious data slurping.
In other news, this 2009 BBC interview with a baby-faced Mark Zuckerberg has also been doing the rounds.
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