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Highlights

  • Mark Zuckerberg took out full-page ads in major British and US newspapers
  • He explained there was a quiz developed by a university researcher that leaked the data
  • We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said

Facebook on Sunday, took out full page ads in newspapers in the US and UK apologising for the data leaks with regard to political firm Cambridge Analytica.

facebook_apology_1Facebook took out the ads in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Postin the US and in UK the list of newspapers includes The Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express, The Observer and Sunday Telegraph. Facebook’s ad apologises over the data leaks, and is signed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the end.

“We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it,” is the headline of the ad. The ad goes on to talk about the 2013 quiz app which was built by a university researcher (named Aleksander Kogan, though the ad does not mention his name) which leaked the data of millions of Facebook users in 2014.

“This was a breach of trust and I’m sorry we did not do more at the time. We are now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” says the ad. It goes on to say that Facebook had already stopped apps from accessing a lot of the information, and they will now limit the amount of information granted to apps even more.

The apology also mentions how Facebook will be investigating every single app which had access to large amount of data before they fixed this. “We expect there are others,” says the Facebook apology note, which is worrying. Facebook says when they find these apps, they will ban them and tell all users who are affected.

Facebook’s apology also says that it will remind users of apps that they might not be using anymore so that they can turn off access to those apps, which they don’t want anymore. The letter ends with the following sentence, “Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.”

The Facebook CEO’s latest apology letter comes after he wrote a lengthy post on his personal page explaining what went wrong with the Cambridge Analytica leaks and what the company plans to do next to fix this.

The interesting bit in the apology is where Facebook says “We expect there are others,” referring to apps which might be violating the company’s terms and regulations of how to access user data. With Cambridge Analytica, it was found the quiz app by Aleksander Kogan also accessed a user’s friends’ data, even though this was explicitly against the company’s terms and conditions; this data was later shared with a third-party which is Cambridge Analytica. The story first broke in 2015.

Facebook is also facing increased scrutiny and a #DeleteFacebook movement in the West. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton who was with the company till February 2018, had tweeted last week saying it was time to Delete Facebook. Later Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk deleted his own page from Facebook along with the company pages for his two companies.

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