Mark Zuckerberg still believes he is the right person to run Facebook. He said so on a press call Wednesday when a reporter asked if he should continue to steer the company, given its recent challenges.
“Yes,” Zuckerberg said. “I think life is about learning from the mistakes and figuring out what you need to do to move forward.”
When asked whether Facebook’s board of directors had discussed replacing Zuckerberg as chairman of the board, he responded tersely.
“Not that I’m aware of,” he said and then moved on to the next question.
Related: Facebook now says data from up to 87M users was shared with Cambridge Analytica, far more than previously reported
Zuckerberg spoke with reporters about the avalanche of scandals that have rocked Facebook over the past year, culminating in revelations that Republican-backed political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica used unauthorized data from 87 million users to inform conservative campaigns. Initially, 50 million users were thought to be affected but Facebook announced that number could have been much higher Wednesday.
But Zuckerberg was careful to note that 87 million is an upper ceiling, based on Facebook’s analysis of the leak.
“What we announced, with the 87 million, is the maximum number of people that we calculate could have been accessed,” Zuckerberg said Wednesday. “We don’t actually know how many people’s information Kogan actually got, we don’t know what he sold to Cambridge Analytica, and we don’t know today what they have on their system.”
Zuckerberg also admitted that no Facebook employees have been fired as a result of the Cambridge Analytica incident because the company is still working to understand what happened.
“At the end of the day this is my responsibility,” he said. “There have been a bunch of questions about that but I started this place, I run it, I’m responsible for what happens here. To the question before, I still think that I’m going to do the best job helping to run it going forward but I’m not looking to throw anyone else under the bus for mistakes that we’ve made here.”
The Cambridge Analytica exposé was bad timing for Facebook, which was already dealing with federal investigations and Congressional wrist-slapping over the role the platform played in Russian interference in the 2016 election.
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg announced Facebook was banning more than 270 pages and accounts linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency which he said, “has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia.” That’s on top of hundreds of Russian-linked accounts Facebook has already banned.
The scandals have investors spooked; Facebook has lost a jaw-dropping $100 billion in market capitalization since Feb. 2 according to The New York Times. Its shares were up more than 3 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday, though.
They’ve also led to calls for Zuckerberg’s resignation. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer suggested Zuckerberg step down as chairman of Facebook’s board in an interview with CNBC Monday. He also called for three new, independent directors with expertise in data and ethics.
“We think there needs to be more independent board oversight,” Stringer said. “I think there needs to be an independent chairman of the board. I think we need more independent directors, directors that have experience in terms of data and ethics and all of the things that these emerging huge companies need in light of what’s happened.”
Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify on privacy issues before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, April 11.