Mark Zuckerberg

Opening Statement to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Facebook Data Privacy

delivered 10 April 2018, Washington, D.C.

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Chairman Grassley, Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Feinstein, Ranking Member Nelson, and Members of the Committee:

We face a number of important issues around privacy, safety, and democracy; and you will rightfully have some hard questions for me to answer. Before I talk about the steps weíre taking to address them, I want to talk about how we got here.

Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company.

For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can do. And as Facebook has grown, people everywhere have gotten a powerful new tool for staying connected to the people they love, for making their voices heard, and for building communities and businesses. Just recently, weíve seen the #MeToo movement and the March for Our Lives organized, at least in part, on Facebook. After Hurricane Harvey, people came together to raise more than 20 million dollars for relief. And more than 70 million small businesses use Facebook to create jobs and grow.

But itís clear now that we didnít do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. And that goes for fake news, for foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didnít take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. And it was my mistake. And Iím sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and Iím responsible for what happens here.

So now we have to go through our -- all of our relationship[s] with people and make sure that weíre taking a broad enough view of our responsibility.

Itís not enough to just connect people: We have to make sure that those connections are positive.

Itís not enough to just give people a voice: We need to make sure that people arenít using it to harm other people or to spread misinformation.

And itís not enough to just give people control over their information: We need to make sure that the developers they share it with protect their information, too.

Across the board, we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure that they're used for good. It will take some time to work through all the changes we need to make across the company, but Iím committed to getting this right. This includes the basic responsibility of protecting people's information, which we failed to do with Cambridge Analytica. So, here are a few key things that we are doing to address this and to prevent it from happening again.

First, we're getting to the bottom of exactly what Cambridge Analytica did, and telling everyone affected. What we know now is that Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed some information about millions of Facebook members by buying it from an app developer. That information -- This was information that people generally share publicly on their Facebook pages, like names and their profile picture and the pages they follow.

When we first contacted Cambridge Analytica, they told us that they had deleted the data. About a month ago, we heard new reports that suggested that wasn't true. And now we're working with governments in the U.S., the UK, and around the world to do a full audit of what they've done, and to make sure they get rid of any data they may still have.

Second, to make sure no other app developers out there are misusing data, we're now investigating every single app that had access to a large amount of information in the past. And if we find that someone improperly used data, we're going to ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected.

Third, to prevent this from ever happening again going forward, we're making sure that developers can't access as much information now. The good news here is that we already made big changes to our platform in 2014 that would have prevented this specific situation from -- with Cambridge Analytica from occurring again today. But there's more to do, and you can find more details on the steps we're taking in my written statement.1

My top priority has always been our social mission -- of connecting people, building community, and bringing the world closer together. Advertisers and developers will never take priority over that as long as I am running Facebook.

I started Facebook when I was in college. Weíve come a long way since then. We now serve more than two billion people around the world, and every day people use our services to stay connected with the people that matter to them most.

I believe deeply in what weíre doing. And I know that when we address these challenges, weíll look back and view helping people connect and giving more people a voice as a positive force in the world.

I realize the issues weíre talking about today arenít just issues for Facebook and our community. Theyíre issues and challenges for all of us as Americans.

Thank you for having me here today, and Iím ready to take your questions.

1 Written testimony for the 11 April 2018 Testimony to the HOR Committee on Energy and Commerce located here (pdf)

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