Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is really sorry about the whole Cambridge Analytica fiasco. So sorry, in fact, that the platform took out full-page ads in 10 newspapers around the world over the weekend, apologising for the platform’s role in the whole debacle. As first reported by CNN, Facebook took out full-page ads in seven newspapers in the UK – The Observer, The Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Sunday Express, and Sunday Telegraph – and three newspapers in the United States – The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. The ads, “signed” by Mark himself, are minimalist, with no fancy graphics – just a bunch of text, where the CEO apologises for “a breach of trust” and promises “to do better”.
The full text of the ads is below:
We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it.
You may have heard about a quiz app built by a university researcher that leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014. This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
We’ve already stopped apps like this from getting so much information. Now we’re limiting the data apps get when you sign in using Facebook.
We’re also investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of data before we fixed this. We expect there are others. And when we find them, we will ban them and tell everyone affected.
Finally, we’ll remind you which apps you’ve given access to your information – so you can shut off the ones you don’t want anymore.
Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you.
In the week since the revelation that Cambridge Analytica may have used access to personal information of millions of Facebook users to influence their behaviour in public events like elections, Facebook has struggled to come to grips with the scope of the crisis. Mark published a post last week in the first official response from the social media platform’s senior management, where he acknowledged Facebook’s shortcomings and laid out action plans to prevent a repeat. However, the post stopped short of giving an apology, which makes this large-scale public admission of guilt and apology all the more noteworthy.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal has engulfed Facebook in seemingly endless problems, with multiple lawsuits, governmental and official inquiries, and a massive #deletefacebook user boycott campaign driving the company’s stock down to new lows. The company is beginning to see an exodus of business partners and advertisers as well, with Mozilla – the foundation behind the popular Firefox web browser – pulling ads from the platform on March 24. SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also become the latest high-profile leader to join the #deletefacebook movement, deleting SpaceX and Tesla’s Facebook pages over the weekend.
Facebook is also facing a possible inquiry by the Indian government after revelations that Cambridge Analytica may have strong ties with Indian political groups and may have influenced, or attempted to influence, the outcome of the 2014 general elections.
Facebook has lost roughly $50 billion of its market cap since the controversy came to light, and despite being in full crisis management mode, the platform’s troubles show no sign of easing up. The newspaper ads show that Mark Zuckerberg is serious about making reparations for the battering his company’s image has taken, but only time will tell if users believe his apologies are sincere enough.