Protesters ahead of Zuckerberg’s testimony in Brussels in May. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Facebook Tells EU It Faces Tough Time Regaining Users’ Trust

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook faces a tough time regaining the trust of users whose confidence was shaken by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social network told European Union lawmakers.

Recent months have been a “very difficult time in terms of people’s ability to trust us,” which is “problematic,” Richard Allan, vice president of policy solutions at Facebook, said at a hearing in Strasbourg, France late on Monday.

He was speaking at the third in a series of hearings lawmakers organized to dig deeper into how information concerning as many as 87 million people -- including an initial estimate of about 2.7 million European users -- ended up in the hands of a consulting firm that worked on Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential campaign.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg met with senior members of the EU parliament in May but left amid criticism that he’d dodged most of their toughest questions.

Last month, the company told EU legislators that the private data about its European users may not have ended up with Cambridge Analytica after all.

“Part of our response has been to make investments that perhaps people think we should have make previously,” including that now the company will raise the number of people working in the area of safety and security “from around 10,000 at the end of last year to 20,000 at the end of this year,” said Allan.

“We’ve told the market that we will be less profitable because we need to invest more in keeping people safe and secure on the service to win back their trust,” he said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.