Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg waded into the Cambridge Analytica scandal, apologizing in an interview with CNBC Thursday (March 22) and predicting the company will face more regulation as a result.
Echoing what Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said about the scandal in a handful of interviews Thursday (March 22), Sandberg told CNBC that while Facebook is open to regulation and will work with lawmakers around the globe, it’s not if the company will face more regulation, but what type. “We know this is an issue of trust. We know this is a critical moment for our company, for the service we provide,” Sandberg said. “We are going to do everything we can.”
Her comments come amid huge backlash and fallout from the weekend revelation that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that worked on President Donald Trump's presidential election campaign, accessed data on 50 million Facebook users without their consent. That information was reportedly used to target them during the run-up to the election. News of the data compromise prompted calls for increased regulation of the social media giant and the launching of investigations in the U.S. and the U.K. It is the latest blow to a company that has faced widespread criticism that it didn't do enough to counter fake news and Russian trolls on its social media platform heading into the U.S. presidential election and following it.
Facebook’s stock has plummeted as a result, losing more than $50 billion of market value, noted CNBC. “That's not how we look at it. We don't look at these trade-offs like, oh it's going to hurt our business in the long run and in the immediate term,” Sandberg said. “People’s trust is the most important thing we have, and that is how we make those decisions.” As for the slow response by Facebook’s top executives, since they have both been silent until Wednesday, Sandberg said they made mistakes. “Sometimes, and I would say certainly this past week, we speak too slowly,” Sandberg said. “If I could live this past week again, I would have definitely had Mark and myself out speaking earlier, but we were trying to get to the bottom of this.”