Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, is underway, and it’s all eyes on Zuck.
The Facebook CEO opened the conference with a keynote address on Tuesday. He squared off with the elephant in the room right away: what Facebook plans to do to rebuild the user trust that was destroyed by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
That’s why Zuckerberg spent the first several minutes of his keynote detailing changes Facebook is implementing — some old and some new in the wake of the controversy. Notably, it seems Facebook is finally admitting that its users have not had the control they should over the data Facebook collects on them — something Zuckerberg stopped just short saying in Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony.
Hours before Zuckerberg took the main stage, Facebook announced a new initiative called Clear History to give people more control about the data Facebook collects and keeps — including activity outside of Facebook. With Clear History, Facebook users will reportedly be able to “to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward.”
Zuckerberg received some of his toughest questions in congress about this sort of data collection, as well as its use of “shadow profiles” — or, the data that Facebook collects on non-users. So at F8, Zuckerberg is attempting to belatedly address some of these concerns.
“One thing I learned from my experience testifying in Congress is that I didn’t have clear enough answers to some of the questions about data,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “We’re working to make sure these controls are clear, and we will have more to come soon.”
Here are some highlights of what Zuck had to say about Cambridge Analytica and all things data monitoring and user privacy in his remarks at F8:
“This has been an intense year. I can’t believe we’re only 4 months in!”
“What I can assure you is that we’re hard at work building this platform so we can keep building tools that people love.”
“We’re all here because we’re optimistic about the future. We have real challenges to address. We have to keep that sense of optimism”
He’s still really sorry
“We saw what happens when things go wrong, and what it requires to get them right.”
Zuckerberg repeated statements from his opening address to Congress, saying that Facebook needs to build tools that change the world for the better.
“We have had to take a broader view of our responsibility.”
Facebook’s values: still “people first”
“Together is where our world gets better. that’s why we keep building. Because this journey is still unfinished.”
“The hardest decision that I made this year wasn’t to invest so much in safety and security. That decision was easy… the hard part was figuring out a way to move forward on everything else that we need to do, too. Recently, I was having a conversation about what Facebook stands for… what would the world lose if Facebook went away?…”
“I started building a service …. to put people first at the center of our experience with technology. Because our relationships are what matter most to us. That’s how we find meaning, and find our place in the world.”
“When I look out today it still surprises me how little of our technology is designed to put people first.”
“I believe that we need to design technology to help bring people closer together. And that’s not going to happen on its own”
“More of our technology is going to need to focus on people and our relationships. There is no guarantee that we will get this right. This is hard stuff”
“What I can guarantee is that if we don’t work on this, the world is not moving in this direction by itself.”
“In 2016, we were slow to identify Russian interference…. we didn’t expect these coordinated information operations. And large networks of fake accounts that we’re not aware of.”
“We will never be unprepared for this again.”
“We deployed new AI tools that successfully identified fake accounts and took them down.”
Zuckerberg touted Facebook’s new election transparency tools, which include account verification and information about who paid for the ads.
“That is a higher standard of transparency than TV ads, than print ads, or anything else that you will find on the internet.”
“This is a big election year… we are focused on this.”
Zuckerberg identified three areas of “fake news” Facebooks is working to quell: spam, fake accounts, and fake news and conspiracy theories.
For fake accounts, Zuckerberg said “the idea here is… focusing on bad actors, and getting them off the network.”
For fake news, Zuckerberg wants to stop the spreading of posts by “real people who are sharing provably false hoaxes.”
Facebook is going to “make sure they see related articles that are more accurate.”
“There’s a lot more here to do.”
“What happened with Cambridge Analytica was a major breach of trust. They were an app developer that took the data that people shared with them and sold it.”
“We need to make sure that we find any other bad apps that are out there. We’re currently in the process of investigating every single app that had access to large amounts of people’s information prior to 2014.”
“We’re asking everyone around the world, not just in europe, to review their privacy controls.”
“So overall, we’re going to keep investing heavily in security and privacy. But security isn’t a problem that you ever fully solve. This is an arms race, and we’re going to be working to stay ahead of our adversaries forever.”
“So we’re going to continue building products that connect people in new ways.”
“We’re going to keep building, even while we focus on keeping people safe.”