Facebook Inc. (FB - Get Report) CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear on a rare conference call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon that he's taking personal responsibility for the data handling issues that have beset his company and battered its stock price in recent weeks.
But he also didn't minimize how long or easy it will be to fix its many issues that have come up with respect to data privacy and fake news on the world's largest social network. He also noted that the company hasn't seen a "meaningful impact" on user behavior or advertising as a result of the data scandal.
Investors seemed to like what Zuckerberg had to say, with the stock rising 3% in after-hours trading on Wednesday and a similar amount in pre-market trading on Thursday.
Here are the top four takeaways from Zuckerberg's hour-long Q&A with reporters:
1. It's going to take a while to solve all of Facebook's problems.Zuckerberg said the company is about "a year into a three-year push" to solving the social network's problems with data security and fake news. "These are big issues...It's gonna take some time and we're committed to getting that right," Zuckerberg said.
2. Zuckerberg isn't going anywhere.
Multiple reporters asked Zuckerberg if he felt he was the best person to lead the company and whether there has been talk of him stepping down as CEO or chairman. Zuckerberg holds a disproportionate amount of power in the company because of Facebook's dual-class stock structure, which many have said creates an accountability problem.
Zuckerberg responded by saying that users should hold him accountable for learning from and fixing mistakes that the company is bound to make, adding that no one has been fired yet due to the Cambridge Analytica data misuse.
"At the end of the day, this is my responsibility," he said. "I'm not looking to throw anyone else under the bus."
3. As many as 87 million users may have had personal data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, not 50 million.
The company gave an estimate of the number of users that could have been affected in an announcement prior to the conference call, with Zuckerberg saying that the number was calculated within the last few days. Other sources had initially estimated the number of potential people affected at as many as 50 million.
"We wouldn't be doing anyone a favor by putting out numbers and coming back next quarter saying we messed that up," Zuckerberg said. "It's much better to take a little longer to make sure we're accurate."
To make matters worse, the company also announced that personal data was also likely scraped through the site's search and password recovery tools, which enable users to find Facebook profiles by entering phone numbers or email addresses.
"I would assume that if you had that setting turned on, someone at some point has accessed your public information in that way," Zuckerberg said."
4. Facebook doesn't, and never will, sell its users' information to anyone.
Zuckerberg said that many users have misconceptions about how Facebook obtains and uses their personal data. He reiterated that Facebook only collects data that users choose to give them -- though clearly, in the case of the Android data scraping, users' understanding of those agreements can get fuzzy.
He added that Facebook does not sell personal data to advertisers, but uses it to target users with advertisements that will be most relevant to them.
"People tell us that if they're gonna see ads, they want those ads to be good," Zuckerberg said. "These are hard value tradeoffs and I think we're doing the right thing to serve people best."