Zuckerberg apologises ahead of hearings, NZ data breaches

Mark Zuckerberg has apologised ahead of hearings in Congress over Facebook data breaches and possible effects on the 2016 US election. In the meantime it has been revealed that about 64,000 New Zealanders may have been involved in the data breaches.

More talk from Zuckerberg over ongoing Facebook data revelations, but  Congress will be looking for more than apologies in two days of hearings.

Reuters: CEO Zuckerberg says Facebook could have done more to prevent misuse

Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told Congress on Monday that the social media network should have done more to prevent itself and its members’ data being misused and offered a broad apology to lawmakers.

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he said in remarks released by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”

His conciliatory tone precedes two days of Congressional hearings where Zuckerberg is set to answer questions about Facebook user data being improperly appropriated by a political consultancy and the role the network played in the U.S. 2016 election.

Top of the agenda in the forthcoming hearings will be Facebook’s admission that the personal information of up to 87 million users, mostly in the United States, may have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

But lawmakers are also expected to press him on a range of issues, including the 2016 election.


Facebook, which has 2.1 billion monthly active users worldwide, said on Sunday it plans to begin on Monday telling users whose data may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.

This potentially includes thousands of New Zealanders. RNZ:

Facebook today revealed it estimated nearly 64,000 New Zealanders were estimated to have had their data collected and used by Cambridge Analytica. The company is accused of using private data to personally target voters to manipulate elections.

A spokesperson for the social media giant said 87 million people were estimated to have been affected by the “Cambridge Analytica data misuse” worldwide, with more than 80 percent of those based in the US.

The data was apparently obtained via the “thisismydigitallife” personality test on Facebook and pulled in information about users’ friends liked without their explicit permission.

“For New Zealand, we estimate a total of 63,724 people may have been impacted – 10 are estimated to have downloaded the quiz app with 63,714 friends possibly impacted,” the company said.

The spokesperson said that from Tuesday the company would begin showing users which apps they connected to at the top of their Facebook feed, and an easy way to delete them.

“As part of this, we will let people know if their data might have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica,” the spokesperson said.

“We’re dramatically reducing the information people can share with apps. We’re shutting down other ways data was being shared through Groups, Events, Pages and Search.”

NetSafe chief executive Martin Cocker…

…said he did not think Facebook users needed to shut down their accounts following the revelation.

Mr Cocker said the breach was a reminder for Facebook users to take their privacy settings seriously, but not necessarily to quit the social media platform.

“Facebook has responded to this breach by setting up a series of tools and improving their management of apps and if anything the breach has lead to a safer Facebook in the future.”

There is nothing obviously different on my Facebook this morning.


Leave a comment


  1. Gezza

     /  10th April 2018

    This was getting discussed on Aljaz tv news this morning. It was being dismissed by a US lecturer in communications who said it was simply a damage control exercise by Zuckerberg, and that as soon as they thought the fuss had blown over they would be back to business monetising user data in any way they can because a) it’s what they have done since inception b) users all have to sign up to accepting facebook will make their data available to others c) they made US$40 million from doing this last year, which was an increase on the previous year, and they are not going to forego this much easy cash.

    She noted no one is looking at or talking about what they are doing with data from users of Snapchat & Instagram, which they also own.

  2. David

     /  10th April 2018

    If you dont pay for the product you are the product. I dont get the fuss, if you post your stuff online why would you be worried about someone seeing it then using it to try and sell you stuff they think you might like.
    The censoring of conservative voices is for me more of an issue, beheading and hate preaching seems ok but the hilarious Diamond and Silk are dangerous so if Facebook and YouTube are going to filter out harmful stuff then someone is going to sue them for allowing defamatory stuff being posted…cant have it both ways and use the post office analogy because they dont open your mail to check what your letter says.

    • Gezza

       /  10th April 2018

      I find facebook has become a clunky, cluttered, ad-filled irritating behemoth & use it as little as possible for as little as possible & the information I publish there is as little as possible to make me findable by the few people I care to connect with on it.


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