Owning mistakes important, says Sheryl Sandberg on data scandal

Washington, June 10 (IANS) Owning mistakes can help one work harder, correct as well as prevent the next ones, said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, whose company has increasingly faced criticism over the sharing of its users’ personal information, a media report said.

“When you own your mistakes, you can work harder to correct them – and even harder to prevent the next ones. That’s my job now,” Sandberg was quoted as saying to the MIT News late on Friday.

After facing criticism over the sharing of its users’ personal information, Facebook has suspended British data firm Cambridge Analytica, which had collected the personal data of nearly 87 million Facebook users without permission.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a formal response to misuse of customer data from its platform. He also apologised in the US Congress and in front of the European Parliament leaders.

Addressing the class of 2018 in MIT’s Commencement, Sandberg said that “at Facebook, we didn’t see all the risks coming, and we didn’t do enough to stop them”.

And it’s also the job of “all of us here,” she said. “It’s not enough to be technologists — we have to make sure that technology serves people.”

At the ceremony, where 999 undergraduates and 1,821 graduate students received their degrees, Sandberg noted that “today, anyone with an internet connection can inspire millions with a single sentence or a single image”.

“That gives extraordinary power to those who use it to do good – to march for equality, reignite the movement against sexual harassment, rally around the things they care about and the people they need to be there for.

“(But) it also empowers those who seek to do harm,” she said.

“I hope you will use your influence to make sure technology is a force for good in the world. Technology needs a human heartbeat; the things that bring us together and that bring us joy are the things that matter most,” Sandberg added.

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