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Addressing Facebook data abuse will ‘significantly impact profits’; Zuckerberg Tells Congress

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will tell Congress this week that addressing the data abuse scandal will “significantly impact” the company’s profitability.

Congress released Mr Zuckerberg’s testimony ahead of his appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

The testimony gives previously known details about the role of Russian interference on the social network in the build up to the 2016 US elections, as well as the role UK firm Cambridge Analytica played in harvesting users’ data for political purposes.

In order to prevent such abuses in the future, Mr Zuckerberg said he would be significantly increasing the company’s investment in security, adding 5,000 people to a team dedicated to reviewing content.

“I’ve directed our teams to invest so much in security – on top of the other investments we’re making – that it will significantly impact our profitability going forward,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“But I want to be clear about what our priority is: protecting our community is more important than maximising our profits.”

Prioritising privacy over profits could hint Mr Zuckerberg is planning to move away from the data-based advertising model the company currently employs.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg previously said that the only way it could offer its users an option to opt out of this business model would be through paid subscriptions.

Facebook’s share price declined sharply in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, partly in reaction to users quitting the platform in protest as part of the #DeleteFacebook campaign.

Mr Zuckerberg previously said that the exodus had not had “any meaningful impact” on user behaviour or advertiser spending.

On Monday, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said that he had quit Facebook over concerns about the social network using his personal data.

“Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook,” Mr Wozniak said. “Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this. The profits are all based on the user’s info, but the users get none of the profits back.”

 

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