Tech

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook's top priority is setting up FTC-mandated privacy program

Key Points
  • Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday that Facebook’s top priority is to implement a new privacy program that was mandated after the company’s $5 billion settlement with the FTC in July.
  • The appearance on Fox is the fourth time that Zuckerberg has spoken publicly this month.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University in a 'Conversation on Free Expression" in Washington, DC on October 17, 2019.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday that Facebook's top priority is to put in place a new privacy program that was mandated after the company's $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in July.

"The most critical thing that we're working on is implementing this program," said Zuckerberg, in an appearance on Fox's Daily Briefing with Dana Perino.

The agreement was part of Facebook's settlement with the FTC, which began probing the social network in March 2018, following reports that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users. The agency was concerned that Facebook had violated the terms of a 2011 agreement, which required the company to give users very clear notifications when their data was being shared with third parties.

"I understand that people have a lot of concerns about this, and in the past we've made mistakes and we need to make sure that we can earn people's trust," Zuckerberg said. "We can do that by operating at a level of rigor and having a privacy program that sets a new standard for the industry over time."

As part of the settlement, Facebook was required to install a chief privacy officer to oversee the new program. In July, the company nominated longtime Facebook executive Michel Protti for the position. Protti will be required to "independently submit to the FTC quarterly certifications that the company is in compliance with the privacy program," according to the agency.

Zuckerberg said it plans to have more than 1,000 people working on the company's privacy program. Earlier on Friday, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs and communications, appeared on MSNBC to defend the company's decision not to fact check content posted on the site by politicians, even if it contains false information.

"Is it Facebook that people want, as a private company, to step in as a referee, an umpire, adjudicating exactly what politicians can and cannot say about each other?" Clegg said. "We believe that's not the right role for a private company."

Zuckerberg will testify before Congress on Facebook's libra cryptocurrency next week. Prior to appearing on Fox, he'd spoken three times publicly this month. Last week, he spoke about his thoughts on brain computing and Facebook's recent acquisition of CTRL-Labs. The week before, Zuckerberg live streamed a discussion with his employees, and on Thursday he spoke at Georgetown University to defend Facebook's decision to continue accepting political ads.

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