A day after Facebook admitted that the personal data of up to 87 million users may have been improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, COO Sheryl Sandberg admitted during an appearance on the Today Show that it’s extremely likely more data breaches will be discovered.
Sandberg, who has made the TV rounds this week as her boss, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, prepares for his Capitol Hill “perp” walk next week, sat down with Savannah Guthrie, who pressed her about why Facebook neglected to inform users whose data had been improperly accessed by Cambridge when the company first learned about the improper use more than two years ago.
“We’re doing an investigation, we’re going to do audits and yes, we think it’s possible, that’s why we’re doing the audit,” Sandberg said.
Later, Sandberg clarified that the company doesn’t sell data to advertisers – it only sells the service of ad targeting, through which it keeps most of its data in house.
As we pointed out earlier, when asked about users opting out of data sharing, Sandberg said that while the company does have several “opt out” options, preventing Facebook from harvesting any data would upend the company’s business model and force it to start charging users.
“We have different forms of opt-out,” she said. “We don’t have an opt out at the highest level. That would be a paid product.”
Sandberg also repeated the company line that Facebook “should’ve checked” – via a data audit – to make sure CA deleted the data which it told Facebook that it had done. The company is now carrying out these audits with many third-party developers who had accessed Facebook’s data.
Like Zuckerberg, Sandberg refused to take responsibility for Facebook’s handling of the situation – repeatedly insisting the company had been misled.
“I run this place with Mark, and I take responsibility for the operational weaknesses we have, for the things we didn’t do and we didn’t do soon enough,” she said.
But when Guthrie asked if “heads should roll” at Facebook – like they would at almost any other public company following such a momentous scandal – Sandberg equivocated, saying there are several “hard questions” the company needs to answer.
“Those are hard questions and they are the right questions. I can speak for myself. First I serve at the pleasure of Mark and our board and I will be here as long as they think I’m the right person to run this and to lead our response and to make sure that we can rebuild trust with people all over the world,” she said. “But at the end of the day, the people we hold responsible are me and Mark. Mark knows that, I know that, and we own that responsibility.”
Facebook has been hit with a handful of lawsuits since the scandal broke last month. Lawmakers and regulators are also calling for investigations, and some Facebook investors – including NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who runs the city’s pension funds – are demanding that Zuckerberg relinquish his role as chairman of the board to introduce greater “independent oversight”
Meanwhile, the company has severed relationships with third party developers, dramatically limiting data circulated outside the company.
∫∫∫ Is anyone actually buying this nonsense?