Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that if she could relive this week over again — a week in which the social network has become engulfed in controversy over improper sharing of personal data from 50 million users — she and CEO Mark Zuckerberg would have spoken up a lot sooner.
“We definitely didn’t realize the gravity of this issue sooner,” Sandberg said in a televised interview on CNBC. “We know this is an issue of trust, we know this is a critical moment for our company and the service we provide.” Sandberg said Facebook is open to regulation and other measures that could help re-establish trust with users. “We are not going to say that we’re not going to have issues,” Sandberg said. “We know that there are always going to be bad actors on our platform.”
The crisis stems from reports that Cambridge Analytica had siphoned data from tens of millions of Facebook users as it built an election-consulting company that boasted it could sway voters in contests all over the world. While 270,000 users had authorized an academic to use their data for research purposes, according to reports, the researcher allegedly violated privacy rules when he handed the data off to Cambridge Analytica.