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Mark Zuckerberg is conspicuously silent about the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal

Published Mar 20th, 2018 6:50AM EDT
Facebook vs. Cambridge Analytica
Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

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The Cambridge Analytica scandal is by far the biggest privacy scandal in Facebook’s history, and the social network did have plenty of privacy-related controversies to deal with in the past.

Over the weekend we have learned that Cambridge Analytica thought way outside the box when it comes to making use of the user data it was able to extract from Facebook, under Facebook’s rules at the time it happened. This was not a data breach, as Facebook made it clear in its response. Instead, developers figured out how to grab relevant data from around 50 million US voters and use that data to try to sway the elections.

Mark Zuckerberg is conspicuously absent from all of this, which adds a further dimension to the seriousness of the matter.

Where are you, Mark?

This is precisely the kind of meaningful story you’d want to share with people, including customers who may worry about the security of their data, investors looking to dump the stock, or regulators investigating this mess and potentially devising ways to regulate Facebook.

Zuckerberg has not issued a single statement on the matter. He didn’t come out to try to defend his company, as you’d expect from the CEO of the most popular social network in the world. He did not have a lengthy personal essay published on his wall either, which is the Zuckerberg way to respond to plenty of Facebook-related matters.

Zuckerberg is hiding, and this doesn’t look good for the company. Since the Cambridge Analytica revelations were made, Facebook stock on Monday dipped 10% below its February 1st highs, taking other tech companies along for the ride. The Dow dropped 335 points on Monday, per CNBC as a result.
Where are you, Mark?

So far, we’ve heard from Paul Grewal, who wrote Facebook’s blog post announcing the suspension of Cambridge Analytica and SCL from Facebook.

The name of Alex Stamos also came up. According to Ars Technica, Facebook’s chief information security officer was rumored to leave the company after disagreements with Facebook execs including COO Sheryl Sandberg about how to investigate the Russian activity on Facebook. Stamos later said that he would not leave Facebook, but shift priorities to “spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security.”

Stamos, by the way, is the same security expert who quit Yahoo in the wake of the great hacks that hit the company years ago. At the time, it was rumored that Stamos disagreed with top execs on Yahoo security. Maybe the next person that hires Stamos should really listen to what this guy has to say.

Where are you, Mark?

Facebook is getting ready for an open meeting on Tuesday, according to The Verge’s information, which will be streamed to all international Facebook employees as well.

However, Zuckerberg will not address the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Instead, Grewal will explain what happened, and the meeting isn’t supposed to last longer than 30 minutes.

Zuckerberg is apparently facing criticism from his own employees for staying silent, as he’s scheduled to speak at the company’s all-hands meeting on Friday. “The prevailing sentiment is, why haven’t we heard from Mark?” the employee said. Why, indeed.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.