• Business chief says ‘a few’ advertisers have paused spending
  • Data-sharing tool complied with FTC privacy decree, COO says

Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg outlined the ways she’s responding to a data-privacy crisis, saying for the first time that some advertisers have curtailed spending and acknowledging her team has a long way to go to reassure wary customers.

“We’ve seen a few advertisers pause with us and they’re asking the same questions that other people are asking,” Sandberg said Thursday in an interview at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. “They want to make sure they can use data and use it safely.”

Sandberg said she is having “reassuring conversations with advertisers, just as we are with people,” about how Facebook has built privacy into its system. The company makes almost all its revenue and profit from advertising.

The largest social-media company is reviewing products and data policies to find further ways to protect users from being exploited, after political consultant Cambridge Analytica obtained information on as many as 87 million people without their permission. That crisis has led to broad questions about how Facebook treats users’ data. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify about the issue at congressional hearings next week.

The company has come under scrutiny from regulators, too. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether the company violated a 2011 agreement to…