By Ovunc Kutlu
Facebook was not on top of issues during the U.S. elections in 2016 regarding fake news or the alleged Russian interference, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said late Wednesday.
Hours after releasing an official statement about the biggest data leak in the company's history, Zuckerberg appeared on CNN in an exclusive interview talking about a range of topics from election interference to protecting its users' information.
"... there's a lot of hard work that we need to do to make it harder for nation states like Russia to do election interference, to make it so that trolls and other folks can't spread fake news," Zuckerberg told.
The Senate Intelligence Committee recommended changes Tuesday to secure the election system against foreign interference, especially against cyber threats.
Although Zuckerberg called Russian meddling a "pretty crazy idea" right after the 2016 elections, he took a more serious tone during the interview, and even put forward that there could be potential interference for the mid-term elections this November.
"I'm sure that there's v2, version two, of whatever the Russian effort was in 2016, I'm sure they're working on that. And there are going to be some new tactics that we need to make sure that we observe and get in front of," he said.
He said Facebook deployed some tools during the French elections in 2017 that did a better job in identifying potential interference, and added "We can get in front of this. We have a responsibility to do this," as he pointed out to upcoming elections in the U.S., India, and Brazil.
Earlier in his statement, Zuckerberg took responsibility in London-based private data analysis company Cambridge Analytica acquiring the private information of approximately 50 million Facebook users without permission and using that data in the U.S. elections in 2014 and 2016, as well as during Brexit.
"This was a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry that this happened. We have a basic responsibility to protect peoples' data," he said.
He explained that Facebook first learned about the data breach in 2015 and requested Cambridge Analytica delete that data, which in return provided formal certification to the social network giant.
Apparently the data was not deleted in 2015 and Facebook has dominated the headlines since Saturday.
"I am used to when people legally certify that they are going to do something that they do it. I think that this was clearly a mistake in retrospect. We need to make sure we don't make that mistake ever again," he said.
Zuckerberg said he would also testify before the U.S. Congress about the data breach.
"I'm happy to if it's the right thing to do," he said, and added that social media could use some level of regulation.
"I'm not sure we shouldn't be regulated ... There are things like ad transparency regulation that I would love to see," he said.