Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg placed the blame for privacy and security lapses at the world’s largest social network squarely on himself as he girded Monday for appearances this week on Capitol Hill before angry lawmakers.
In prepared remarks released by a congressional panel, Zuckerberg admitted he was too idealistic and failed to grasp how the platform — used by two billion people — could be abused and manipulated.
The 33-year-old is to testify before senators on Tuesday and House lawmakers on Wednesday amid a firestorm over the hijacking of data on millions of Facebook users by the British firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked with Donald Trump’s campaign.
On Monday, Zuckerberg ditched his trademark T-shirt for a suit and tie as he made the rounds on Capitol Hill with his assistant Andrea Besmehn for private meetings with lawmakers ahead of the hearings — a key test for the Facebook founder.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said in his written testimony released by the House commerce committee.
“I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
In his written remarks, Zuckerberg called Facebook “an idealistic and optimistic company” and said: “We focused on all the good that connecting people can bring.”
But he acknowledged that “it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”
Zuckerberg said he has called for more investments in security that will “significantly impact our profitability going forward,” adding: “I want to be clear about what our priority is: protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profit.”