Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon slammed Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — States probe the tech giants Executives personally signed off on Facebook-Google ad collusion plot, states claim States push forward with Facebook antitrust case, reportedly probe VR unit MORE on Thursday for criticizing Facebook's data practices amid reports that Cambridge Analytica, the digital firm he helped found, misused data obtained from millions of the website's users without their consent.
"They take your stuff for free. They sell it and monetize it for huge margins. That's why the companies trade for such high valuations," Bannon said during an interview at a conference held by the Financial Times on the future of media, CNBC reported. "Then they write algorithms and control your life."
Bannon's comments follow Zuckerberg's televised apology for not doing more to stop Cambridge Analytica from misusing data gained through the social media platform.
Bannon went on to attack Zuckerberg personally for what he called mumbling during his recent interview.
"[Zuckerberg] mumbles through the whole interview, and no one asks him a tough follow-on question," Bannon said, accusing media outlets of playing "patty cake" with Zuckerberg.
Cambridge Analytica obtained the Facebook data of roughly 50 million users from the developer of an app called thisisyourdigitallife. An estimated 270,000 people willingly handed over their personal information. That app's developer then accessed the friend networks of those initial users and gathered data on millions of others without their consent.
Facebook has said they are changing their privacy policies to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.
Cambridge Analytica, which was co-founded by Bannon and billionaire Robert Mercer, would go on to be part of the Trump campaign's data operations.
Zuckerberg told CNN in an interview that he was "really sorry" that so many users had their data obtained without their consent or knowledge.
"So this was a major breach of trust and I'm really sorry that this happened. You know, we have a basic responsibility to protect people's data and if we can't do that then we don't deserve to have the opportunity to serve people," he said.