After nearly four days of silence from top executives about the growing controversy over Cambridge Analytica's misuse of user data, Facebook made a statement on Tuesday about what Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are doing. "Mark, Sheryl and their teams are working day and night to get all the data and take the right steps to move forward, because they understand the seriousness of this problem," Facebook told The Daily Beast. "The whole company is outraged because we were deceived, and we are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information and we will take the necessary measures to ensure that this happens."
The company's statement is remarkable for three reasons. First, it intensifies the emotional tone of Facebook's response: on Friday it rated Cambridge Analytica's actions "unacceptable"; today they are an outrage. Two, the statement frames the story as a hoax in which Facebook was not the bad actor but the victim. Three, he buys time from the company amid the growing demands of Zuckerberg's own listening.
CEO Zuckerberg and COO Sandberg have been criticized for their silence in the face of growing concern over Facebook's response to the revelations about Cambridge Analytica. The company, which served as Donald Trump's data operations team during the 2016 elections, has been accused of obtaining data from academic researcher Aleksandr Kogan incorrectly and using them to gather information on more than 50 million user profiles.
Wired reported on Tuesday that the problem had become controversial within Facebook:
As the storm unfolded over the weekend, Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, strategized and discussed late into the night. They knew that the public was hitting them, but they also believed that the fault lies much more in Cambridge Analytica than in them. Still, there were four main questions that consumed them. How could they reinforce the system to make sure this does not happen again? What should they do with all calls for Zuckerberg to testify? Should they sue Cambridge Analytica? And what could they do with the psychologist Joseph Chancellor, who had helped to found Kogan's firm and who now worked, from all places, on Facebook?
Zuckerberg may be working all day, but he is expected to address employees on Friday during the company's regular employee question and answer session, The Verge found out. The meeting is scheduled to take place in 1P ET.