Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg speaks out ahead of congressional testimony

Last Updated Apr 4, 2018 4:52 PM EDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is speaking to reporters in a Wednesday conference call, after the social media company admitted Wednesday afternoon that data firm Cambridge Analytica accessed up to 87 million accounts, mostly in the U.S. Zuckerberg will testify before Congress next week. 

“We didn’t take a broad enough view what our responsibility was,” Zuckerberg said on the conference call, explaining how it has handled users’ data.

The 87 million figure was much higher than earlier estimates that were closer to 50 million, and represents nearly half of all registered voters in the U.S. Facebook is under scrutiny for failing to tell customers in 2015 when it found users’ information had been accessed without their permission by Cambridge Analytica. Facebook, in an update posted Wednesday afternoon, said it will be better informing users about how their information is used, but didn’t announce any major changes in policy. 

What you need to know about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica 

A Facebook spokeswoman explained the number increased once Facebook conducted its own internal review.

“The 50 million number originally reported was an estimate provided by parties other than Facebook,” the spokeswoman told CBS News. “We undertook our own internal review to determine the number of people potentially impacted.” 

In the conference call, Zuckerberg pointed out that people freely share their information on Facebook, and Facebook doesn’t sell users’ data. Zuckerberg, asked why Cambridge Analytica was only recently banned, said they hadn’t really been accessing Facebook’s services several years back, until the 2016 election.

“They were not really a player that we had been paying attention to,” he said.

Zuckerberg claimed Facebook has 15,000 employees currently in charge of information security, and will have 20,000 by the end of the year. Zuckerberg could not name anyone who had been fired at the social media company over the Cambridge Analytica incident. 

Lawmakers are expected to pose tough questions to Zuckerberg on Wednesday, when he testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“At the end of the day, this is my responsibility,” Zuckerberg said on the conference call.

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