'I'm really sorry that this happened': Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for the massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal in CNN interview

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized for the data scandal that has roiled the social media network this week.

  • Zuckerberg said "I'm really sorry that this happened" in an interview to CNN, which aired hours after he and the social-media network's No. 2 exec, Sheryl Sandberg, spoke up about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

  • The matter has roiled Facebook this week, after it was revealed that the British data firm inappropriately vacuumed up information from some 50 million Facebook users.

  • Both Zuckerberg and Sandberg acknowledged "mistakes" on the part of Facebook, but for some of their critics, the remarks fell short.

  • The scandal has contributed to a 10% drop in Facebook's stock since last Friday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "I'm really sorry that this happened," in his first interview on the massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal that has roiled the social media network this week.

Zuckerberg made that admission on CNN Wednesday night, hours after he and COO Sheryl Sandberg issued their first statements on the matter.

"This is clearly a mistake in retrospect," Zuckerberg said of the data-access rules that the British data firm exploited to vacuum up the data of some 50 million Facebook users.

Cambridge Analytica is being scrutinized for the methods it used during the 2016 presidential election, after executives with the firm boasted about their ability to covertly target voters, entrap politicians, and launch propaganda campaigns.

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The reach of those operations was multiplied by social-media platforms like Facebook. Russian operatives capitalized on this to a significant degree, sowing political discord among likely voters in a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the US election. Zuckerberg has acknowledged this in fits and starts, after initially balking at the idea last year.

He expressed some lingering disbelief of the concept on Wednesday night:

"If you'd told me in 2004 when I was getting started with Facebook that a big part of my responsibility today would be to help protect the integrity of elections against interference by other governments, I wouldn't have really believed that that was gonna be something that I would have to work on 14 years later."

"But we're here now, and we're gonna make sure we're going to do a good job at it," he said.

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