Facebook Chief Executive Officer and founder Mark Zuckerberg confirms he knew that profile information from some 87 million users was breached in December 2015, but did nothing to notify these users.
Thirty three year old Zuckerberg, currently worth about $US64 billion, has been called to D.C. to testify about data storage and misuse at Facebook following recent revelations that his company allowed the British Cambridge Analytica (CA) consulting firm to nonconsensually harvest information from about 87 million of its users and harness the data to likely influence voter behavior during the 2016 presidential elections.
Zuckerberg made the admonition when Senator Kamala Harris accused the CEO of dodging questions and asked directly if he or anyone at Facebook discussed telling users that their information was taken without permission and given to Cambridge Analytics and other consulting firms in December 2015.
Kamala asked: "you became aware in December 2015 that (data was) misappropriated from 87million users. That’s 27 months ago. However, a decision was made not to notify (users). … So my question is, did anyone at Facebook have a conversation at the time that you became aware of this breach wherein the decision was made not to contact the users?"
Zuckerberg responded, "I don’t know if there were any conversations at Facebook... I don’t know what other people discussed." The CEO said he did recall having a conversation about informing users about the breach in 2015 adding that in retrospect it was a "mistake."
Just today, The Guardian announced that British and US lawyers initiated a joint class action suit against Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and two other companies - SCL Group Limited and Global Science Research Limited (GSR) - for the alleged mishandling of personal data of more than, they say, 71 million people, with the intent to use their information for "political propaganda campaigns" in the UK and the US.
The lawsuit says that the collected information was first harnessed to influence voters during the British EU referendum and then later in the U.S. during the 2016 presidential election.
Cambridge Analytica denied yesterday any claims of wrongdoing saying it didn’t use any of the data in the Trump campaign or the Brexit referendum.
Washington lawyers working the case that Facebook must be held "accountable."
Zuckerberg will testify on the same topic before the House energy and commerce committee tomorrow.