This week Mark Zuckerberg is all about contrition. Last week? Not so much.
While the Facebook CEO continues his non-apology apology tour in an effort to stop the Cambridge Analytica-related bleeding, his company had a very different take on the scandal-in-waiting just last Friday. Specifically, its lawyers threatened to sue the news outlet reporting the story. But now Facebook totally regrets that. Totally.
Facebook’s head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, tried to make this very clear Thursday at the FT Future of News conference — noting that it was “not our wisest move.”
“If it were me I would have probably not threatened to sue The Guardian,” CNET reports her as saying.
And yet that is exactly what Facebook did. We know this because Carole Cadwalladr, the reporter behind the bombshell Guardian story documenting how Facebook lost track of 50 million users’ data, told us as much.
That’s right, Facebook — which has media blitzed Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg across the airwaves in an attempt to convince us just how much they value the Facebook “community” — would much rather not be having this conversation at all.
In other words, if Facebook had its way you wouldn’t know that its past loose data-gathering rules for third-party developers directly led to the abuse of 50 million users’ profile data. Correspondingly, the very same proposals put forth by Zuckerberg on Wednesday to theoretically prevent a repeat of the Cambridge Analytica mess would never have seen the light of day.
In other words, Facebook threatened legal action to prevent accountability and reform. And they definitely think that was a bad idea.
Facebook, after all, isn’t innately interested in protecting its users — it’s interested in protecting its bottom line. If additional privacy protections help stop the hemorrhaging of its market cap? Then so be it. But if the company can do a run around the entire thing and sue journalists into silence? Even better.
But hey, its executives might end up regretting it. So there’s that at least.