Facebook facing record £500000 fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Daniel Leal-olivas  AFP  Getty Images

Daniel Leal-olivas AFP Getty Images

The social media giant has been under pressure from governments in Europe and the USA since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, revealing that the consulting company gained access to the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from an academic researcher.

A statement from Facebooks chief privacy officer admitted that Facebook “should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015.” A 40 page report created by British regulators says that Facebook failed by allowing the parties involved with the University of Cambridge to build an app that collects data about Facebook users and their friends.

Britain's Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said she intends to fine Facebook 500,000 pounds ($663,850), the maximum amount allowed, Reuters reported.

Facebook, with CA, has been the focus of the ICO's investigation since February when evidence emerged that an app had been used to harvest the data of 50 million Facebook users around the world.

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That's why greater and genuine transparency about the use of data analytics is vital'.

The Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said Ms Denham's inquiry has found that Facebook "contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information".

The watchdog is investigating whether data obtained from Facebook was misused by both the Leave and Remain campaigns during the European Union referendum, and in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "We're reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon". "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", ICO's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said in a statement.

Facebook is able to respond to the commissioner before the fine is applied.

Denham also called for the government to introduce a statutory code of practice for the use of personal data in political campaigns, adding that "this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law".

"Trust and confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes risk being disrupted because the average voter has little idea of what is going on behind the scenes", she said.

The next phase of the ICO's work is expected to be concluded by the end of October.

OAIC is conducting its own investigation into whether Facebook breached the Privacy Act, which obligates organisations to ensure customers are notified about the collection and handling of their personal information. "We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the United States and other countries".

"Facebook users will be rightly concerned that the company left their data far too vulnerable to being collected without their consent by developers working on behalf of companies like Cambridge Analytica".

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