Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday he was dropping lawsuits that sought to force Hawaiian families to sell their land in the legal action known as “quiet title and partition.”

After backlash from the community, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan called the lawsuits a “mistake” in a letter published in Kauai’s The Garden Island .

The dozens of small plots of land Zuckerberg was after were scattered across his $100 million 700-acre beachfront property on the island of Kauai. Zuckerberg filed eight quiet title lawsuits against hundreds of people Dec. 30 in state Circuit Court on Kauai, with some cases involving properties believed to have no living owners, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

“To find a better path forward, we are dropping our quiet title actions and will work together with the community on a new approach,” said Zuckerberg in his announcement.

The lawsuits were brought up in the first place because of an old Hawaiian rule that granted automatic ownership of land to heirs of tenant farmers, even without a property deed or will. Because of the law, many people may own a specific lot of land, and some individuals may not even know property was passed down to them.

Zuckerberg said he reached out to families to discuss the matter directly. After that, he said he initiated the quiet title process to identify any other partial owners to pay them their fair share for the land.

After backlash, the Facebook CEO said he did not handle the situation correctly.

“Upon reflection, I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead,” he said. “Now that I understand the issues better, it's clear we made a mistake.”

Zuckerberg added, “The right path is to sit down and discuss how to best move forward. We will continue to speak with community leaders that represent different groups, including native Hawaiians and environmentalists, to find the best path.”

The Facebook CEO didn’t sound bitter about dropping the lawsuits, and promised to work with the community.

“We love Kaua`i and we want to be good members of the community for the long term,” he concluded.