There is a new chapter in the ongoing scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook with the latter company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, reportedly publishing new apologies in several major newspapers. There aren't any known figures with regard to how many newspapers will be running the apology, which was published in the ads section of the papers. However, they have been reported to be appearing in larger publications in both the U.S. and the U.K. – notably in The Sunday Times, The Observer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. The apology includes an acknowledgment that mistakes were made back in 2014 and a rough outline of the plans to rectify the situation going forward. For those who may not be aware of the situation, it was recently discovered that data was harvested via seemingly benign surveys and polls from around 50 million Facebook users. Although the privacy policies of Facebook are not necessarily secretive, only around one percent of those users were ever expressly informed that the data was being harvested.
With regard to the apology, Zuckerberg leads off by saying that the company has a responsibility to protect user information. He says that if it can't, then it doesn't deserve access to that information. In order to ensure that such a breach doesn't occur again, the executive says that Facebook is taking steps to limit the amount of data an app can obtain via Facebook's sign-in APIs. Moreover, the company has changed its policies to prevent the widescale collection of data without explicit consent from users and is investigating any further apps which may have behaved similarly. If any problems are found in that investigation, Zuckerberg has promised that the company will be transparent and will notify affected users. In the meantime, users will be receiving reminders about which applications and services have been given access to their account – as well as a walkthrough for how to remove unwanted services and apps.
Of course, this whole situation further stems out from a wider array of concerns about how user data is being used and sold by the social media company. So it remains to be seen if the company will be able to uphold its new promises. In any case, this latest effort to assuage user concerns does, at very least, seem to be sincere in the examination of its practices.