Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be interviewed by CNN’s senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall today, with the segment airing during Anderson Cooper 360 at 9PM ET this evening. The news, announced on Twitter by CNN host Brian Stelter, is a pivotal moment for Facebook as it grapples with the severe aftermath of the ongoing Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, which has embroiled the social networking company in one of its most high-profile and far-reaching controversies in its entire 14-year history.
Not only is Zuckerberg going on television a very rare occurrence these days, but the Facebook chief executive has been notably silent about the scandal since the company first acknowledged last Friday that Cambridge Analytica, a data mining and analytics firm, misused data it obtained on as many as 50 million Facebook users. “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,” Facebook said in a statement yesterday. “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.”
Zuckerberg did, in fact, break his silence today with a post on his personal Facebook page acknowledging the severity of the situation, detailing a timeline of the events at hand, and outlining a three-step plan to try and repair the damage done and better safeguard Facebook users going forward. It’s clear Zuckerberg hopes a televised appearance with help assuage critics who think he and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have been hiding behind other executives these past few days as the scandal unfolded.
“In my opinion you should not hide behind a Facebook post when you lead a company with the data of 2.2 billion people that many of us now fear is jeopardizing democracy at a global scale. It’s sad to have to write it this way, but so it is,” wrote technology critic and author David Kirpatrick in response to Zuckerberg’s post. “I’m going to do an interview with CNN shortly,” Zuckerberg wrote back. We’ll see what he has to say later on today.