“This is going to be a never-ending battle,” said Mark Zuckerberg. He just gave the most candid look yet into his thoughts about Cambridge Analytica, data privacy and Facebook’s sweeping developer platform changes during a conference call with reporters today. Sounding alternately vulnerable about his past negligence and confident about Facebook’s strategy going forward, Zuckerberg took nearly an hour of tough questions.
You can read a transcript here and listen to a recording of the call below:
The CEO started the call by giving his condolences to those affected by the shooting at YouTube yesterday. He then delivered this mea culpa on privacy:
We’re an idealistic and optimistic company … but it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough. We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well … We didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is and that was a huge mistake. That was my mistake.
It’s not enough to just connect people. We have to make sure those connections are positive and that they’re bringing people together. It’s not enough just to give people a voice, we have to make sure that people are not using that voice to hurt people or spread misinformation. And it’s not enough to give people tools to sign into apps, we have to make sure that all those developers protect people’s information too.
It’s not enough to have rules requiring that they protect the information. It’s not enough to believe them when they’re telling us they’re protecting information. We actually have to ensure that everyone in our ecosystem protects people’s information.
This is Zuckerberg’s strongest statement yet about his and Facebook’s failure to anticipate worst-case scenarios, which has led to a string of scandals that are now decimating the company’s morale. Spelling out how policy means nothing without enforcement, and pairing that with a massive reduction in how much data app developers can request from users makes it seem like Facebook is ready to turn over a new leaf.
Here are the highlights from the rest of the call:
On Zuckerberg calling fake news’ influence “crazy”: “I clearly made a mistake by just dismissing fake news as crazy — as having an impact … it was too flippant. I never should have referred to it as crazy.