Facebook Settled to Pay £500k as Part of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

By Bill Toulas / October 31, 2019

Facebook agreed to pay the amount that was ruled by the UK’s data protection watchdog (ICO) to the authority, and that is no less than half a million pounds sterling. The reasoning behind this fine is the liability that the ICO attributes to the social media giant, in relation to the unlawful sharing of the personal data of 50 million people which Cambridge Analytica used for political advertising purposes. The scandal was huge, and CA filed for bankruptcy soon, while Facebook had to deal with multiple lawsuits and fines from all over the world.

However, the most popular social media platform out there has not admitted their responsibility about what happened, continuing to maintain that the data was merely mishandled by the collaborator, who violated their agreement. The Information Commissioner’s Office wasn’t moved by these allegations, so they imposed the maximum fine that they could base on the results of their investigation, which is £500k. As the Deputy Commissioner told the press, their main concern was that UK citizen data was exposed to a serious risk of harm, and that can’t go unpunished. As he also stated, the protection of PII and personal privacy should be of fundamental importance, both for the citizens and the preservation of democracy.

As they denied all responsibility, Facebook initially didn’t accept ICO’s ruling and appealed the decision. However, this has now changed and Facebook asked for the authority to share the undisclosed documents of their investigation so that they may take a more in-depth look at them. From now on, Facebook will not just pay the amount, but they will also be obliged to comply with the recommendations that have been laid out by ICO. Based on the developments in other areas, Facebook shouldn’t have trouble with this requirement at this point. They have already introduced more data control features for their users, and they are reviewing what apps and entities are doing with the data they collect from them more vigorously.

The ICO was pleased with this decision and the changes that the platform has made in order to formulate a more trusty platform for its users. As Dipple Johnstone (Deputy Commissioner) stated: “We expect that Facebook will be able to move forward and learn from the events of this case." We and the billions of Facebook users are hoping for exactly the same at this point.

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