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Cramer: Zuckerberg just blunted his worst critics by taking responsibility for data scandal

Key Points
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blunted his worst critics by taking responsibility for his company's data leak scandal, CNBC's Jim Cramer says.
  • Cramer previously said the "long knives" had been drawn for Facebook after a slew of criticism over its data privacy practices.
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Cramer says the 'long knives' are losing to Zuckerberg on data scandal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blunted his worst critics by taking responsibility for his company's data leak scandal, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Thursday.

The social media giant's stock rose nearly 4 percent early Thursday, a day after Zuckerberg told reporters on a call that he had not seen a noticeable change in user behavior in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. During the call, Zuckerberg also said he's "responsible for what happened here."

Zuckerberg came under fire over Facebook's privacy practices after news broke of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook said Wednesday that the number of users whose information was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica was 87 million — higher than previously reported estimates of 50 million — and said "most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped." The data were used to target ads promoting Donald Trump's 2016 candidacy, according to The New York Times and The Observer.

Cambridge Analytica said Wednesday that the leak only affected 30 million users.

"I think people expected a big number of cuts" in users, Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "And [Zuckerberg] said, 'no, we're not having a big number cuts.'"

"This was a pivot. Last night was a pivot. I think the long knives are kind of losing," Cramer said, adding Zuckerberg got ahead of the possibility of further criticism by revealing more users may have had their personal information improperly shared with the political consulting firm than previously reported.

"This was a seminal conference call because he gave you what he was going to say in front of Capitol Hill. And people liked it. And he gave Wall Street what they wanted," said Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money."

Zuckerberg will testify before Congress next Tuesday and Wednesday on the data scandal and general data privacy matters involving the social media giant.

Last week, Cramer said the "long knives" had been drawn for Facebook after a slew of criticism over its data privacy practices.

Cramer was particularly surprised by Apple CEO Tim Cook's comments about Facebook's data leak. Cook criticized the social media company during an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher and MSNBC's Chris Hayes, saying he "wouldn't be" in Zuckerberg's situation — hemorrhaging shareholder value and facing regulatory probes.

Zuckerberg later responded to Cook's criticism, saying the Apple CEO's comment was "extremely glib."

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