'It was my mistake and I'm sorry.' Mark Zuckerberg grovels in written statement to Congress before he is questioned about data-harvesting scandal

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify that he's 'sorry' and that his firm 'didn't do enough' to protect the sites' users from having their personal information compromised.

The 33-year-old exec made the apology as he prepares to testify in blockbuster hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday about how millions of users had their data harvested by filling out surveys that got to Cambridge Analytica.  

Zuckerberg defended Facebook as an 'idealistic and optimistic' company, before accepting personal responsibility for not setting up the right security protocols.

'It was my mistake, and I'm sorry,' he said, in House testimony released a day before his first grilling. 

'But it's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well,' according to Zuckerberg's prepared testimony.

'That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.'

He continued: 'We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here. 

'So now we have to go through every part of our relationship with people and make sure we’re taking a broad enough view of our responsibility,' he pledged.

After mentioning the estimated 126 million people who got content linked to the infamous Russian troll farm Internet Research Ageny, Zuckerber wrote: 'There's no question that we should have spotted Russian interference earlier.'

Zuckerberg is trying to earn some 'likes' from lawmakers, meeting privately Monday with some of those who will question him on the firm's privacy scandal later this week.

The secret Monday meetings come in advance of Zuckerberg's Tuesday testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Wednesday before a joint hearing with the Senate Judiciary and Commerce panels.

The closed-door meetings run through Monday afternoon and include some of the members who will question Zuckerberg, Reuters reported. 

The world's fifth richest man is being coached by a team of experts and a former George W. Bush aide about how to handle lawmakers waiting for the chance to interrupt him or bash Facebook's security practices.

He has retained a team from the top law firm WilmerHale as well as outside consultants. It even set up mock-hearings with consultants playing members of Congress, the New York Times reported. 

The behind-the-scenes prepping comes as Zuckerberg negotiated a media tour in which he accepted responsibility and the firm put out the bad and then worse news of how many millions of people had their data compromised.

'Their goal is to make Mr. Zuckerberg appear as humble, agreeable and as forthright as possible,' the Times reported, in a report sourced to people close to the operation.

One member of the team is Reginald Brown, who served as a special assistant and associate White House counsel to President George W. Bush.

Zuckerberg told reporters in a conference call he accepted blame for the policy that allowed political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to acquire personal data on up to 87 million users. 

Facebook has suspended another firm, CubeYou, after CNBC reported it engaged in a similar practice, relying on user surveys purportedly for academic research that then yielded information that ended up getting sold for commercial uses.

The company sold the data collected by researches for the Psychometrics Lab at Cambridge University. 

'These are serious claims and we have suspended CubeYou from Facebook while we investigate them,' said a Facebook spokesman.

'If they refuse or fail our audit, their apps will be banned from Facebook.'

Facebook has been rolling out a PR strategy to deal with the scandal, but Zuckerberg is expected to face tough questioning in the televised hearings.

 "A day of reckoning is coming for websites like @facebook," tweeted Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey on Friday. "We need a privacy bill of rights that all Americans can rely upon,' he wrote.

Daily Mall

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