Facebook faces over $650G fine in Britain over data misuse scandal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose Mc Enery Convention Center in San Jose California

Facebook faces a record fine of £500,000 from Britain's data watchdog for failing to protect users whose data was obtained by Cambridge Analytica.

Updating on her investigation into the use of data analytics by political campaigns, Britain's Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said she meant to fine Facebook 500,000 pounds ($663,850), a small figure for a company with a market value of $590 billion, but the maximum amount allowed. Normally, the ICO does not reveal its initial findings but said it had done so in this case because of the heightened public interest in the matter. It promised another update in October.

In response, Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer said: "As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015".

Facebook has been fined £500,000 by United Kingdom regulator the ICO over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook is now facing inquiries by the U.S. Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

The watchdog also plans to bring criminal charges against Cambridge Analytica's defunct parent company SCL Elections.

Facebook has said it will be reviewing the report and responding to the ICO soon.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation now under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report", the spokeswoman said. "Whilst these concerns about Facebook's advertising model exist generally in relation to its commercial use, they are heightened when these tools are used for political campaigning".


Facebook said apps developed by the Russian technology conglomerate Mail.Ru Group, were being looked at as part of the company's wider investigation into the misuse of Facebook user data, CNN reported.

Specifically, Facebook is being fined for two breaches to the act, which the official ICO report lists as "failing to safeguard people's information" and "failing to be transparent about how people's data was harvested by others". The British agency said Facebook may have had a "missed opportunity" in 2014 to have thwarted Kogan's activities on the site.

The decision was welcomed by former Cambridge Analytica employee and whistleblower Christopher Wylie.

Cambridge Analytica used data from millions of Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign.

And U.K. regulators pledged additional scrutiny of Facebook to come. Among the issues they are still probing is an assertion by Cambridge Analytica that it had deleted the data, after the social media giant requested it in 2015.

Mr Collins said his own committee will publish its interim report about disinformation and data use in political campaigns later this month.

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