In 2007, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fortune in an interview that Facebook would become a major platform that would share user data with third-party developers — a plan that has brought controversy to the company this week.
In the 2007 article, Zuckerberg said he wanted Facebook to become "the most powerful distribution mechanism that's been created in a generation."
Saying that Facebook was a “tech” company, Zuckerberg said he planned to have third-party developers use the website to build their apps and services, similar to how people can write programs and apps for Windows.
"We want to make Facebook into something of an operating system so you can run full applications," he said.
Fast-forward 11 years and you’re seeing what happened because of Zuckerberg’s early plan. As Wired reported, researcher Aleksandr Kogan built a personality quiz app inside of Facebook, which was later used by close to 27,000 American Facebook users.
Kogan then accessed all of the data from both the quiz-takers and their friends. He sold the data to Cambridge Analytica, a company that has been linked with President Donald Trump’s election campaign.
“The sale of the data violated Facebook’s policies, but the harvesting of it did not,” according to The Ringer.
Zuckerberg apologized Wednesday in an interview with CNN for the recent events with his company.7 comments on this story
“So this was a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry that this happened,” he said. “You know we have a basic responsibility to protect people's data and if we can't do that then we don't deserve to have the opportunity to serve people. So our responsibility now is to make sure that this doesn't happen again.”
Zuckerberg said Facebook will now audit thousands of apps on its website that have large amounts of data, according to The Washington Post. He said the company will review what data these third-party apps can access, including "names, profile photos and email addresses," according to The Post.
Facebook will also "require developers to sign a contract before being allowed to ask Facebook users for rights to their posts."