“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a statement regarding Cambridge Analytica this year.
Even before the disclosure on Friday, Facebook was caught up in multiple federal investigations of its data-sharing and privacy practices. The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an inquiry into the company’s statements about the Cambridge Analytica episode.
Facebook insists that it has instituted strict data-sharing policies with third parties, and has scaled back the amount of data it agrees to share with developers. The company suspended access to more than 400 third-party apps after an audit of the thousands of outside apps connected to Facebook.
In the conference call on Friday, Guy Rosen, a vice president of product management at Facebook, declined to say whether the attack could have been coordinated by hackers supported by a nation-state. He said the attack was “complex,” and leveraged three separate bugs in Facebook’s code that, once compounded, provided widespread access to user accounts.
The hackers also tried to harvest people’s private information, including name, sex and hometown, from Facebook’s systems.
Facebook has been reshuffling its security teams since Alex Stamos, the chief security officer, left in August for a teaching position at Stanford University. Instead of acting as a stand-alone unit, security team members work more closely with product teams across the company. The move, the company said, is an effort to embed security across every step of Facebook product development.
Members of Congress immediately seized on the latest breach to criticize Facebook.
“This is another sobering indicator that Congress needs to step up and take action to protect the privacy and security of social media users,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia and one of Facebook’s most vocal critics in Congress, said in a statement. “A full investigation should be swiftly conducted and made public so that we can understand more about what happened.”