FACEBOOK CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out of hiding on Wednesday to finally address the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting revelations.
In a post on his embattled social network, Zuck - who has until now failed to speak out about the scandal that saw data harvested from 50 million Facebook users - admitted that the firm has "made mistakes".
"The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago," Zuck said, referring to changes made to Facebook's developer platform policies in 2014 that saw devs banned from gathering data about the friends of people using their apps.
However, before these changes were made four years ago, university academic Aleksandr Kogan - in collaboration with Cambridge Analytica - built an app called 'thisisyourdigital life' that paid around 300,000 users to take a personality test and agree to have their data collected for academic use.
The app, however, also collected the information of the test-takers' Facebook friends, which lead to the accumulation of a data pool "tens of millions-strong".
"In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica," Zuck whimpered. "We immediately banned Kogan's app from our platform and demanded that Kogan and Cambridge Analytica formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data. They provided these certifications.
"Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified," he added, failing to mention that it threatened the aforementioned newspapers in a bid to stop the damning revelations from being made public.
Zuckerberg went on to pledge that, while it's already moved to "prevent bad actors from accessing people's information", the social network will be taking further steps to protect user data.
"First, we will investigate all apps that had access to large amounts of information before we changed our platform to dramatically reduce data access in 2014, and we will conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity," Zuck said, adding: "We will ban any developer from our platform that does not agree to a thorough audit."
Facebook has already blocked Kogan, who claims he's being "scapegoated", whistleblower Chris Wylie and, naturally, Cambridge Analytica, despite the firm's claims that it's, er, did nothing wrong.
Zuck continued: "We will restrict developers' data access even further to prevent other kinds of abuse. For example, we will remove developers' access to your data if you haven't used their app in three months.
"We will reduce the data you give an app when you sign in -- to only your name, profile photo, and email address."
Zuck also goes on to say that the firm will be more transparent over data usage, and will show remaining Facebook users "a tool at the top of your News Feed with the apps you've used and an easy way to revoke those apps' permissions to your data".
While the statement fails to offer up an apology of any sort, Zuck said in a later interview with CNN that he was "really sorry".
Regardless, Zuck's statement likely will fall on deaf ears, with many lambasting the hoodie-wearing CEO for taking four days until he broke his silence on the issue.
This silence even lead to Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp (which was, er, acquired by Facebook in 2014) calling on users to boycott Facebook and delete the firm's data-slurping app. µ
We should be shocked, but...
But the search giant has now squashed the bug
But it's not yet available here in Blighty