Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has promised to take a tougher stance on developers’ access to user data after a recent scandal showed that a U.K. based company used that information to help get Donald Trump elected.
It has been alleged that London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed information belonging to 50 million Facebook users to build profiles on American voters to help elect Trump in 2016.
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday (March 21). “I've been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn't happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there's more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”
He added that the company will conduct an investigation of apps on its platform, restrict developer access to data “even further to prevent other kinds of abuse,” and give members a tool that lets them more easily disable access to their Facebook data.
According to Reuters, the social media giant's shares closed up 0.7 percent after Zuckerberg's post. The company has lost more than $45 billion of its stock market value over the past three days. It has also been hit with a class-action lawsuit from shareholders.
Many analysts are now concerned that the scandal will hinder user engagement with Facebook, which could hurt its position with advertisers. As a result, three Wall Street brokerages slashed their price targets.
“Investors now have to consider whether or not the company will conclude that it has grown in a manner that has proven to be untenable or whether it needs to significantly improve how it is managed,” said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser.