Facebook admits its data drama has ‘a few’ advertisers pressing pause

In an interview with Bloomberg, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg disclosed the fact that ongoing privacy revelations around Cambridge Analytica have some advertisers skittish.

When asked about how many advertisers had paused their ad spending, Sandberg would only get as specific as saying that “a few” had done so, leaving plenty of room for interpretation. She told Bloomberg that Facebook was engaged in “reassuring conversations” with advertisers with concerns about data privacy.

The slight chill is just one more way that the Cambridge Analytica scandal is shifting Facebook’s relationship to the advertisers at the core of the company’s business model.

In the interview, Sandberg reiterated that Facebook’s proactive measures around privacy and security — like doubling its safety and security team from 10,000 to 20,000 workers — will negatively affect profitability in the short to medium term.

“We also didn’t build our operations fast enough, and that’s on me,” Sandberg said.

She admitted that Facebook has historically addressed problems on the platform as isolated incidents, an approach that allowed more systemic issues to remain unaddressed.

“What we didn’t do until recently, and what we’re doing now, is just take a broader view, looking to be more restrictive in ways data could be misused,” Sandberg said.

“This is going to be a long process… we’re going to find more things, we’re going to tell you about them, we’re going to shut them down.”