Photo: Paul Marotta (Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg is ready to apologize.

In written testimony submitted prior to his congressional appearances this week, the Facebook CEO issued a sweeping apology for his companyā€™s blunders on election interference, privacy, and fake news. He called the social media platform an ā€œidealistic and optimistic company,ā€ noting that attitude contributed to Facebook missing the signs of abuse.


ā€œBut itā€™s clear now that we didnā€™t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well,ā€ Zuckerberg says in his prepared testimony. ā€œThat goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didnā€™t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and Iā€™m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and Iā€™m responsible for what happens here.ā€

Facebook has pushed out a flurry of announcements over the past week about how itā€™s planning to mop up the Cambridge Analytica data-scraping scandal, and itā€™s clear from Zuckerbergā€™s testimony that the announcements were intended to prime the pump, letting the embattled CEO claim that his company is indeed taking action.

His testimony summarizes the steps Facebook is taking in the wake of Cambridge Analytica to prevent developers from inappropriately accessing data; namely, Facebook is locking down a feature that allowed users to be looked up based on their phone number and is restricting developer access to certain APIs and user information.


To address election interference, Zuckerberg points out that Facebook has taken down hundreds of accounts run by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency, which the US Department of Justice has accused of conducting ā€œinformation warfare against the United States.ā€ He also notes that Facebook used new artificial intelligence tools to detect and remove fake Macedonian accounts during the 2017 special election Senate race in Alabama.

Zuckerberg also plans to highlight new restrictions that Facebook has created for political advertisers. However, he makes sure to point out that Facebook enabled positive interactions around the elections as well.

ā€œWe organized ā€˜get out the voteā€™ efforts that helped more than 2 million people register to vote who might not have voted otherwise,ā€ Zuckerberg says. ā€œSecurityā€”including around electionsā€”isnā€™t a problem you ever fully solve.ā€


ā€œMy top priority has always been our social mission of connecting people, building community and bringing the world closer together. Advertisers and developers will never take priority over that as long as Iā€™m running Facebook,ā€ he adds.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary and Senate Commerce Committees tomorrow, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

Zuckerbergā€™s full testimony is below.