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Mark Zuckerberg’s first comments on Cambridge Analytica scandal do not include an apology

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has issued his first public comments since the Cambridge Analytica scandal engulfed the social network last weekend. 

In a post on his own Facebook page, Zuckerberg admitted the firm had made mistakes, but said the actions required to “prevent this from happening again today” were carried out years ago.

Zuckerberg told Facebook users: “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.”

However, he stopped short of making any kind of apology to the estimated 50 million users affected.

You can see the full post below:

Timeline 2013-2018

In the lengthy post, Zuckerberg attempted to provide a timeline of events, dating back to the first contact with a Cambridge University researcher, which led to the harvesting of ‘tens of millions’ of users’ data.

He wrote: “In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access tens of millions of their friends’ data.”

OPINION: We can’t trust Silicon Valley with our data or lives

The loophole that allowed apps to access users’ friends’ data was closed in 2014, Zuckerberg said. However, Facebook later discovered Kogan had passed this data on to Cambridge Analytica. He was banned from the platform and Cambridge Analytica was ordered to delete the data.

It was only through the recent reporting from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Facebook discovered the data may not have been deleted.

Three steps

Zuckerberg said investigations into the data harvesting are ongoing and more steps are being taken to limit this kind of data abuse ever occurring again.

The three-thronged approach involves performing a full audit of developers’ apps to check for suspicious activity. Those who do not agree will be banned.

Secondly, developers will only have access to your data for three months after you last used their app.

Finally, Facebook is adding a tool aimed at educating users about which apps are accessing data and the depth of accessible data.

He added: “In the next month, we will show everyone 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.”

No apology

At the end of the post Zuckerberg concluded: “I want to thank all of you who continue to believe in our mission and work to build this community together. I know it takes longer to fix all these issues than we’d like, but I promise you we’ll work through this and build a better service over the long term.”

Unfortunately, once again, “sorry” seems to be the hardest word.

The belated public comments come as Facebook comes under increasing fire from politicians, Wall Street and users who are seeking ways to delete their accounts in protest.

Related: How to delete your Facebook account

A report on Tuesday, citing a former Facebook product developer called Facebook’s attitude to potential data harvesting as “utterly horrifying“.

Do you buy Zuckerberg’s explanation for the data scandal? Do you trust the firm to do better going forward? Or is it too late? Tweet us @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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