Fix Facebook but don't kill it, says Alibaba's Jack Ma

Fix Facebook but don't kill it, says Alibaba's Jack Ma
Photo Credit: Creative Commons
10 Apr, 2018

Jack Ma, the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has called on Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg to fix privacy and other related issues plaguing the social network amid widespread criticism from regulators and users of the platform. 

“It is the time to fix it. It is the time for the [Facebook] CEO to really take it seriously. I think the problems will be solved,” Ma was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. 

He was responding to questions at the annual Boao Forum in China over the recent revelation that personal data of Facebook users may have been improperly shared with political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which in turn allegedly used the data to influence the 2016 US presidential election. 

Ma added that Facebook's troubles were a direct outcome of its explosive growth over the past decade.

“We should not kill the company because of these problems,” the Alibaba founder said. “I will say, Facebook 15 years ago, they never expected this to grow like that. All the problems they could not realise came up.”

Zuckerberg apologised for the data breach on Monday in a written testimony to US Congress, and will likely repeat that on Tuesday and Wednesday as he faces congressional committees looking into Facebook's management and protection of user data.

“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” he said in written remarks released by the US House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.”

Facebook first acknowledged last month that personal information of millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica. Last week, the social networking platform said up to 87 million users could have been affected by the breach, significantly higher than an earlier media estimate of 50 million.

Zuckerberg had told reporters last Wednesday that he was to blame for the data breach. “When you’re building something like Facebook that is unprecedented in the world, there are going to be things that you mess up,” Zuckerberg had said. 

Since then, the company has been trying to limit access of several parties to its user data. Through multiple blog posts, Facebook has explained how it is trying to fix the issue. It had put out a blog post explaining how the company was making it easier for its users to access privacy controls

In another blog post, the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, said that Facebook has restricted access to its application programming interface (APIs) and the move is part of the process to plug leaks and secure the information of Facebook users.

Schroepfer also put out a list of restricted APIs and explained how their functions would change.