Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said she expects her company to find more instances of user data improperly shared with outside entities, a concession that comes as the social media giant is under fire for its handling of the trove of personal information Facebook users hand over to the company.
“I am not going to sit here and say that we're not going to find more, because we are,” Sandberg told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview that aired Friday morning.
Facebook has been the subject of intense scrutiny in the wake of reports that Cambridge Analytica, a British data analytics firm used by President Donald Trump’s campaign, obtained the personal information of as many as 87 million Facebook users. Revelations that the data of so many users made its way into the hands of a third party raised questions about how Facebook protects such data, prompting a wave of mea culpa interviews not just from Sandberg, but also from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg.
On the “Today” show, Sandberg said Facebook “got the balance wrong” in addressing privacy issues, optimistically weighing the positive uses of data sharing more heavily than the opportunities for misuse.
Asked why Facebook is only addressing issues related to Cambridge Analytica now when it was aware of the problem in December of 2015, Sandberg said her company had been given legal assurances that the user data in question was deleted but did not follow up to check and make sure that was the case. She said Facebook should have checked to ensure the improperly harvested data and is doing so now.
She had little in the way of an answer as to why Facebook did not tell users in 2015 that their data had been compromised except to say that the company believed the data had been deleted.
“That doesn’t mean you don’t tell the users ‘hey, this was stolen from you,’” NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie said to Sandberg, to which the COO replied, “yes, you’re right and we should have done that. We should have done that as well.”
“Because it feels like Facebook was trying to get away with it,” Guthrie followed up.
“I don't think that's true but, of course, you're right and we should have done that," Sandberg said.