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In The Wake Of The Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Should Mark Zuckerberg Resign?

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.
Paul Sakuma/AP, File
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Back in 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that privacy was “no longer a social norm,” and in the years since then, debates over personal information ownership have plagued Facebook.

Now, the social media company may have gone too far. Facebook has been under fire after reports that British data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users, causing a mass exodus of the site and inspiring a #DeleteFacebook movement online.

But instead of users quitting Facebook, should Mark Zuckerberg be the one to resign?

According to business historian Nancy Koehn, Facebook’s leadership messed up from the beginning by failing to take responsibility.

“I would give them pretty low marks on the crisis management scale,” Koehn said during an interview with Boston Public Radio Tuesday. “In general, you want to respond pretty quickly — even if you don’t have information, you want to respond piece by piece, but you want to respond.”

Zuckerberg did a series of interviews within the days following the breach, and took out a newspaper advertisement apologizing for the scandal, which Koehn said was too little too late.

“This wasn’t handled very well,” Koehn said. “When a company that is this big and this influential and this significant in so many people’s lives is involved in something that is potentially this damaging to their reputation and potentially damaging to how they do business … you really don’t want to let silence or 'no harm, no foul' reign,” she said. “It creates this sense that you’ve got something to hide.”

Nancy Koehn holds the James E. Robison Chair of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Her latest book is “Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times."

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