Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg underwent 10 hours of questioning this week from senators who inquired about topics like government regulation, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the company’s perceived monopoly power on social media.
The 33-year-old CEO ultimately apologized for not doing enough to protect user data.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he said. “And it was my mistake. And I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
At one point in the hearing, Zuckerberg spoke about the effect the recent PR nightmare has had on the size of Facebook’s user base.
“I don’t think there’s been any meaningful impact that we’ve observed,” he said.
But that might not be accurate, at least according to a survey issued by the research group Techpinions, which asked a representative sample of 1,000 Americans about their feelings toward Facebook. The results showed:
- 28% of the people interviewed never trusted Facebook to begin with
- 17% say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone over privacy concerns.
- 35% say they’re using Facebook less than they used to over the privacy issue.
- 9% say they deleted their Facebook account altogether.
- 39% say they’re “very aware” and 37% say they’re “somewhat aware” of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg at the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing on
April, 10 2018. (Photo: Alex Wong)
Zuckerberg acknowledged that the barrage of negative press had hurt the social media giant.
“Look, it’s not good… It still speaks to people feeling like this was a massive breach of trust and that we have a lot of work to do to repair that.”
One solution that would, in theory, remove all privacy concerns is for Facebook to begin charging users money to have an account—that way Facebook wouldn’t have to rely on advertising to make money. But when Techpinions asked people if they’d be interested in such a paid model, 59 percent said no.
Facebook’s stock is down 15 percent since the Cambridge Analytica Scandal broke several weeks ago.