Testifying before US senators in the wake of Facebook’s data breach scandal, its founder Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday said that his company will do everything to ensure fair polling takes place in India and other countries.
"2018 is an important year for the whole world. Several countries like India, Pakistan will have elections. We'll do everything possible to ensure these elections are safe," Zuckerberg said in the joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.
The CEO and founder of the world’s most popular social networking website said he was “sorry” that Facebook did not take a “broad enough view” of the responsibility when their platform was being used for circulating fake news and was becoming a tool for foreign interference in elections.
Zuckerberg apologised several times for Facebook failures, disclosed that his company was "working with" special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian election interference and said it was working hard to change its own operations after the harvesting of users' private data by a data-mining company affiliated with Donald Trump's campaign.
Seemingly unimpressed, Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said Zuckerberg's company had a 14-year history of apologising for "ill-advised decisions" related to user privacy. "How is today's apology different?" Thune asked.
"We have made a lot of mistakes in running the company," Zuckerberg conceded, and Facebook must work harder at ensuring the tools it creates are used in "good and healthy" ways.
The controversy has brought a flood of bad publicity and sent the company's stock value plunging, but Zuckerberg seemed to achieve a measure of success in countering that: Facebook shares surged 4.5 percent for the day, the biggest gain in two years.
The 33-year-old billionaire also expressed regret that his company was slow in identifying the Russian operations in 2016, which allegedly benefitted the then presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who is now USA's 45th president.
The hearing is taking place after reports started pouring in March that the social networking site had compromised with the personal data of over 87 million Facebook users to Britain-based Cambridge Analytica - which allegedly influenced voters during the 2016 US Presidential elections.