Published: Wed, July 11, 2018

Facebook facing record £500000 fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook facing record £500000 fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

British politicians are now calling on Facebook to be more transparent about its internal investigation into data misuse.

For Facebook's part in the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has today stated its intent to fine the social network £500,000, finding the company to be in breach of the country's Data Protection Act.

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 sum is barely even a slap on the wrist for Facebook, which had revenues of more than $40 billion in 2017, but is the maximum possible under the applicable legislation.

Facebook said the company illicitly gained access to personal information of up to 87 million users via an academic intermediary, although the firm said the number was much smaller than that.

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". She added: '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.

Cambridge Analytica has maintained that none of the data obtained without the knowledge of Facebook users was shared with or used for the purposes of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.


Facebook "will get a chance to respond to the proposed penalties before the ICO releases a final decision", Bloomberg reports. The region's competition chief said the social media company had provided misleading information about its privacy promises during its 2014 acquisition of the messenger app WhatsApp.

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

Politicians are calling for greater transparency from Facebook in light of the ICO fine.

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.

"This can not by left to a secret internal investigation at Facebook".

"If other developers broke the law we have a right to know, and the users whose data may have been compromised in this way should be informed".

The British fine comes as Facebook faces a potential hefty compensation bill in Australia, where litigation funder IMF Bentham said it had lodged a complaint with regulators over the Cambridge Analytica breech - thought to affect some €300,000 users in Australia. The number of Facebook users affected by this kind of data scraping may be far greater than has now been acknowledged.

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