Mark Zuckerberg Details ‘Full Audit’ of Facebook After Cambridge Analytica

The Facebook CEO has responded to the scandal.

Mark Zuckerberg has outlined how his company plans to complete a “full audit” of Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The CEO told reporter Laurie Segall in an interview on Wednesday that the company would respond to the harvesting of 50 million users’ private information with a thorough assessment of data collection habits.

Facebook’s audit follows the Saturday revelation that Cambridge Analytica collected data and used it to aid Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The social network found 270,000 people consented to allow an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” data access to produce personality predictions. The app developer, University of Cambridge professor Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, passed the data to Cambridge Analytica, which subsequently met with figures like Breitbart News leader Steve Bannon. Zuckerberg, as part of a media tour that broke a four-day silence from the company, told CNN that the audit would research whether other app developers acted in a similar way to Kogan by looking at collection requests.

Facebook's use of data is in the spotlight.

Unsplash / Tim Bennett

Zuckerberg said that Facebook would look at “thousands” of apps from between 2007, when the social app platform launched, to 2014 when Facebook severely limited apps’ data access. The team will look at the patterns for data requests, which will enable any unusual activity to show up and enable a closer inspection. That’s a seven year gap, though, and Zuckerberg suggested in the interview that he could not have seen such a scandal arising through his product during its early development.

“If you’d told me in 2004, when I was getting started with Facebook, that a big part of my responsibility today would be to help protect the integrity of elections against interference by other governments, I wouldn’t have really believed that that was gonna be something that I would have to work on 14 years later,” Zuckerberg said in the interview.

Following the incident, Facebook plans to take a more proactive approach to identifying apps misusing data — or in Zuckerberg’s words, apps that are “similarly doing sketchy things.” The company will also release a tool that will identify whether a user’s data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica.

It may take some time before the full extent of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal becomes clear — it’s possible that Facebook’s audit reveals even more misuses of data spanning a far wider area.

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