As Facebook scandal mushrooms, Zuckerberg vows to ‘step up’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during preparation for the Facebook Communities Summit, in Chicago. (AP)
Updated 22 March 2018
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As Facebook scandal mushrooms, Zuckerberg vows to ‘step up’

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to “step up” to fix problems at the social media giant, as it fights a snowballing scandal over the hijacking of personal data from millions of its users.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg said Wednesday in his first public comments on the harvesting of Facebook user data by a British firm linked to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Zuckerberg announced new steps to rein in the leakage of data to outside developers and third-party apps, while giving users more control over their information through a special toolbar.
“This was a major breach of trust and I’m really sorry that this happened,” Zuckerberg said in a televised interview with CNN.
“Our responsibility now is to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Zuckerberg said he will testify before Congress if he is the person at Facebook best placed to answer their questions, and that he is not opposed to regulating Internet titans such as the social network.
“I am actually not sure we shouldn’t be regulated,” the Facebook co-founder and chief told CNN.
“Technology is an increasingly important trend in the world; the question is more the right regulation than should it be regulated.”
Zuckerberg said measures had been in place since 2014 to prevent the sort of abuse revealed over the weekend but the social network needed to “step up” to do more.
The scandal erupted when a whistleblower revealed that British data consultant Cambridge Analytica (CA) had created psychological profiles on 50 million Facebook users via a personality prediction app, created by a researcher named Aleksandr Kogan.
The app was downloaded by 270,000 people, but also scooped up their friends’ data without consent — as was possible under Facebook’s rules at the time.
Facebook says it discovered last week that CA may not have deleted the data as it certified.
“We should not have trusted Cambridge Analytica’s certification, and we are not going to make that mistake again,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook is reviewing how much data was accessed by every app at the social network, and will conduct full forensic audits if it notices anything suspicious, according to its chief executive.


WhatsApp to limit message forwarding

This photo illustration shows an Indian newspaper vendor reading a newspaper with a full back page advertisement from WhatsApp intended to counter fake information, in New Delhi on July 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 20 July 2018
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WhatsApp to limit message forwarding

  • Indians forward more messages, photos and videos than any other country in the world

NEW DELHI: WhatsApp announced curbs on its service in India on Friday in an effort to stop a spate of horrific lynchings and to assuage government threats of legal action in its biggest market.
More than 20 people have been killed by mobs in the past two months across the country after being accused of child kidnapping and other crimes in viral messages circulated on WhatsApp.
The Facebook-owned firm said on Friday that in India it will test limiting the ability of users to forward messages, and will also experiment with a lower limit of five chats at once.
It addition, it said it will “remove the quick forward button next to media messages,” a statement said.
“We believe that these changes — which we’ll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app,” it added.
Under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the firm had already announced new features to help users identify messages that have been forwarded.
WhatsApp had also bought full-page adverts in Indian newspapers with tips on how to spot misinformation.
But in a strongly worded statement released late Thursday, India’s information technology ministry said the action taken was not enough.
“Rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes on their platform have not been addressed adequately by WhatsApp,” the ministry said.
“When rumors and fake news get propagated by mischief-mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability,” it said.
“If (WhatsApp) remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action.”