“I Take Responsibility For This”

“I Take Responsibility For This”

Facebook hasn’t yet discovered another Cambridge Analytica-esque data leak, its COO Sheryl Sandberg told BuzzFeed News in an interview Thursday.

Sandberg’s remarks are Facebook’s first on the company’s search for other bad actors similar to the Cambridge Analytica, which illicitly obtained Facebook data on up to 87 million people amassed by a researcher under the guise of a personality test.

“As we find more Cambridge Analyticas, we’re going to find a comprehensive way to put them out and make sure people see them,” Sandberg said. “So far, we don’t have another clear case to share.”

The recent Cambridge Analytica revelations, which were first reported by the Observer and the New York Times, have rocked Facebook, even though the company knew that the political consulting firm had wrongfully obtained the data in Dec. 2015. Sandberg’s statement indicates that the Cambridge Analytica leak is the extent of all “clear cut” major data leaks, which resulted from the company’s lax developer policies allowed widespread data collection by third parties. The company has since patched that up.

Facebook is now undergoing a major audit of its system to search for other cases similar to Cambridge Analytica, and Sandberg said it could be a while before people see the full results. “That process is going to take a long time, there were a lot of apps,” she said. “But our commitment is to do it carefully and rigorously and tell people if those examples happen.”

“On the things we didn’t do that we should’ve done that are under my purview, that’s my responsibility and I own that.”

Sandberg also took personal responsibility for the the series of crises Facebook has been embroiled in, saying that as the person looking over the company’s ad business she has not been let off the hook while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes all the blame.

“I take responsibility for this,” she said. “The buck stops with us. The buck stops with me. On the things we didn’t do that we should’ve done that are under my purview, that’s my responsibility and I own that.”

Asked if she ever offered to resign as a result of these crises, Sandberg said no. “I serve at the pleasure of Mark and our board and I’m going to keep working here for as long as they think I’m the right person to help lead and help lead us, not just out of this but for the future.”

Sandberg also bristled at the notion that nobody inside Facebook has been held accountable for its repeated privacy and security lapses. But she refused to answer a question about whether anyone inside the company lost their job as a result of the Cambridge Analytica leak, or others. “We do hold our company and people who work here accountable for following our policies, and people are fired at Facebook on a regular basis for not doing our jobs,” Sandberg said. “We don’t talk about this publicly and we’re not going to, we don’t think it’s the right thing to do. But it would be a mistake to think that no one ever gets fired at Facebook.”

More to come …

Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at alex.kantrowitz@buzzfeed.com.

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