Facebook’s stock is tumbling—down about 12% in the last few days—over reports that suggest Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy firm hired by the Trump campaign for the 2016 US election, acquired data from 50 million Facebook users without their consent, and Facebook knew about it for the last two years.
In times like these, you’d expect Facebook’s founder and CEO to come out and calm the waters. As Mashable pointed out yesterday, March 20, Mark Zuckerberg said his goal for 2018 was to run his company better and kick abuse off the platform. Even if Zuckerberg doesn’t have answers yet, you’d think there would be some post on his personal Facebook page (which he uses as a sort of bully pulpit for his beliefs and missions for the company), to see him on evening news interviews, or even penning a post on Facebook’s blog.
But here’s the last thing he’s posted on Facebook:
Him baking with his wife on March 2.
Similarly, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer and Zuckerberg’s second-in-command, last posted a picture on March 17 of her drinking coffee with a friend.
The company is hosting an all-hands meeting to discuss the Cambridge Analytica debacle later today at its Menlo Park, California, headquarters, according to The Verge. But it will be led by Paul Grewal, the company’s deputy general counsel, the same person who wrote the original blog post late on Friday night that kicked off the original controversy.
A few Facebook higher-ups have spoken out since the initial blog post. The company’s head of marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said Monday that she was “beyond disturbed” about the breach. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, is reportedly leaving the company in part due to disagreements over how to handle foreign meddling in politics on the platform. Andrew Bosworth, the company’s head of AR and VR projects and former head of ads, took to Facebook to pen a long FAQ about Cambridge Analytica. He’s also responding to just about any journalist that lobs questions at him on Twitter.
Still, there’s been no word from Zuckerberg or Sandberg, or the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer. Quartz has asked Facebook when its leader plans to address the issues on his platform and will update when we hear more. But even if Zuckerberg doesn’t want to answer questions, US and UK politicians have already called on him to do so and certainly his troops, many of whom signed up to make the world a better place, will expect to hear his perspective.
A decade ago, Zuckerberg hired Sandberg to help manage his fledgling company, which had about 100 million users and wasn’t profitable. It was a time (paywall) when he had business cards that read, “I’m CEO… bitch,” and he complained to a mentor, ”Is being a CEO always this hard?” At Harvard, when Zuckerberg was just building Facebook and had signed up about 4,000 users, he called the people who had handed over their data to him “dumb fucks.”
The company has grown massively since those days, with over 2 billion users worldwide and quarterly revenue of around $13 billion, but it seems that being a CEO remains a work in progress for the 33-year-old Zuckerberg.
Update (4:20 pm): A Facebook spokesperson sent Quartz the following statement:
Mark, Sheryl and their teams are working around the clock to get all the facts and take the appropriate action moving forward, because they understand the seriousness of this issue. The entire company is outraged we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens.