Facebook was blindsided by the user-data scandal that has grabbed the headlines in the past week, and the company had undergone an "awakening" to deal with the crisis, says Campbell Brown, the company's head of news partnerships.
"We are in a position now where we have to be judged by our actions," said Ms Brown, speaking on Thursday on a panel at the Financial Times' Future of News conference in New York City.
Ms Brown, a former CNN host and NBC News reporter, joined Facebook in January 2017.
"Inside the company - and outside the company - people are very upset. I'm upset. This breach of trust that's happened, as Mark [Zuckerberg] described it, doesn't feel good for anyone.
"We've been caught flat-footed," Mr Brown continued. "There is an awakening that is taking place inside the company where the mentality is 'all hands on deck' to address this."
Rather than being repentant about his campaign's links to Cambridge Analytica, Mr Trump bragged about it on Twitter, his social media network of choice.
"Remember when they were saying, during the campaign, that Donald Trump is giving great speeches and drawing big crowds, but he is spending much less money and not using social media as well as Crooked Hillary’s large and highly sophisticated staff. Well, not saying that anymore!"
Ms Brown also acknowledged that it was a mistake for Facebook to threaten legal action against the UK's Guardian prior to the newspaper publishing a story about Cambridge Analytica's misuse of Facebook data.
"Not probably our wisest move," she said.
On Thursday (NZ time), Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg addressed the swirling controversy about the misappropriation of data on 50 million users by Trump-affiliated political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, after several days of staying mum.
In an interview that aired later on CNN, Mr Zuckerberg apologised for the situation and vowed that Facebook will do better to protect user privacy. He also said he would be willing to testify before Congress and said Facebook would be open to the "right regulation" of the industry.
Asked why it took Mr Zuckerberg as long as it did to come forward to speak on the issue, Ms Brown said there a "tension" between getting out immediately with statements that "may be half-baked" versus "doing the legwork internally to find out what happened and come out with answers and how you're going to address the problem".
Facebook will have to make significant changes, said Emily Bell, director of Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism, also speaking on the panel. Today, Facebook "is designed for the recirculation of content that is largely undifferentiated".
"It's been a horribly mishandled crisis," Ms Bell said about the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The question is, "Can engineering solve cultural problems?"
The writing on the wall is that there will be regulation around how internet companies handle data, across the globe, said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, a digital-media trade organisation. "It's going to go to the core of the business model," he said.