Mark Zuckerberg, the president of the social media giant, Facebook, took full responsibility for the errors that compromised the information of almost 90 million users.
During a legislative hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees, the 33-year-old who started Facebook in a dorm room at Harvard University in 2004, acknowledged that he did not do enough to prevent his ecosystem from being used for malicious purposes.
“That includes fake news, foreign election interference, hate speech, as well as program developers and data privacy,” Zuckerberg told senators and amid a cloud of photographers and journalists that covered the audience.
“We did not take a sufficiently broad view of our responsibility and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it and I am responsible for what happens, “he concluded.
Mark Zuckerberg, who managed to grow his business from just a few hundred students at America’s elite universities to more than 2.2 billion users in 14 years, was virtually scolded by several senators, some of whom are twice his age.
“Users deserve to know how their information is shared and protected,” said Octogenarian Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of the Judiciary Committee.
Trade Committee Chairman John Thune said senators wanted to know how Facebook was going to address “significant concerns about the company’s role in democracy, bad actors and user privacy.”
Just last week, Facebook acknowledged that up to 87 million users were affected by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica’s possible misuse of their personal information in the 2016 presidential election.
Cambridge Analytica, founded by who would later be the campaign manager of Donald Trump, obtained without Facebook permission data from the profiles of millions of users, which would later have been used to redirect voters during the 2016 presidential elections.
Facebook is also facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from at least 37 states and territories that are requesting information from the company about its data security procedures.
Mark Zuckerberg accepted at the legislative hearing that he now understands that it is not enough to give users tools to connect with each other.
“It is not enough to give people a voice, we have to make sure that they are not using it to harm other people or spread disinformation,” he said.
Mark Zuckerberg promised to send the Senate a series of legislative proposals that help protect users’ privacy.