For much of the past week, Facebook has been embroiled in a controversy involving Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and how the firm improperly obtained and exploited personal data from 50 million Facebook users.
On Wednesday, following widespread questions about his whereabouts, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, spoke with two New York Times reporters, Sheera Frenkel and Kevin Roose, about the controversy and the steps he was taking to make the social network less prone to abuse.
Below is a transcript of the conversation, edited for length and clarity.
Sheera Frenkel: Did it come as a surprise to you, the user response to the news that Cambridge Analytica had accessed this trove of data?
Mark Zuckerberg: Privacy issues have always been incredibly important to people. One of our biggest responsibilities is to protect data. If you think about what our services are, at their most basic level, you put some content into a service, whether it’s a photo or a video or a text message — whether it’s Facebook or WhatsApp or Instagram — and you’re trusting that that content is going to be shared with the people you want to share it with. Whenever there’s an issue where someone’s data gets passed to someone who the rules of the system shouldn’t have allowed it to, that’s rightfully a big issue and deserves to be a big uproar.
Read the full New York Times conversation with Mark Zuckerberg here