In an interview with the press on Wednesday, the CEO took full responsibility for the failures of the social empire he built 14 years ago, but he quickly dismissed talks about a potential resignation.
When asked by Financial Times reporter Hannah Kuchler whether the board has discussed Zuckerberg stepping down, the typically cheerful CEO quipped, “Not that I know,” in a tone Mashable writer Kerry Flynn described as “cocky.”
He was then asked by Alyssa Newcomb of NBC News whether he still feels he’s the one to lead the social network. This time, Zuckerberg gave a more carefully crafted response. “The reality of a lot of this is that when you are building something like Facebook that is unprecedented in the world, there are going to be things that you mess up,” Zuckerberg said. “And if we had gotten this right, we would have messed something else up. I don’t think anyone is going to be perfect, but I think what people should hold us accountable for is learning from the mistakes and continually doing better and continuing to evolve what our view of our responsibility is.”
In a candid opening response, Zuckerberg admitted to the company’s mistakes, listing methods used by bad actors that it failed to protect against.
“But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough,” Zuckerberg said. “We didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools to do harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, hate speech, in addition to developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake. It was my mistake.”
If you somehow haven’t heard, Facebook finds itself entrenched in its most damaging scandal yet after it was reported that a political data firm working for Donald Trump violated security rules by harvesting Facebook user information from a third-party personality test app. The mounds of data it collected were reportedly used to influence voters. It was first thought that the personal information of 50 million people had been compromised, but Facebook upped that number to 87 million on Wednesday.
Zuckerberg was also asked if anyone had been fired in light of the data compromise, to which he responded, “I started this place, I run it, I’m responsible for what happened here.” He continued, “I’m going to do the best job going forward, but I’m not looking to throw anyone else under the bus for mistakes that we’ve made here.”
This was only the first round of heated questions Zuckerberg will face. The CEO will take the hot seat once against next week to testify in front of Congress.
You can find the full transcript of his interview with the press here.