Facebook facing record £500000 fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

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"As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015", said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer. However, because the abuse took place before the introduction of the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation, which allows fines of up to 4% of global annual revenues, the ICO is only able to fine Facebook £500,000 ($663,610, ) which is the limit under older British data protection law.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office is threatening the company with the maximum penalty allowed, it said on Wednesday when issuing its first findings in a probe that looked at some 30 organisations, including social-media platforms such as Facebook.

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The scandal centered on Cambridge Analytica's abuse of Facebook's wishy-washy data sharing rules for harvesting information from 50 million people.

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Facebook, which gets to "make representations" to the ICO before the regulator finalizes the fine, had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

The ICO is also investigating 29 other social media companies, political campaigns, parties and other commercial actors over their roles in the European Union referendum.

Facebook has said that a Cambridge University lecturer named Aleksandr Kogan collected the data legitimately through a personality quiz app but then violated Facebook's terms by sharing the information with Cambridge Analytica, a firm later hired by the Trump presidential campaign during the 2016 USA election.

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.

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

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's total compensation was worth $25.2 million in 2017-including $21.1 million in Facebook stock and the $2.7 million spent on personal security.

"The ICO's investigation concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information", the organisation said in a statement. "Users had a right to expect Facebook to operate in a transparent way and keep their information safe".

Mail.Ru told CNN it had not been contacted by Facebook about its investigation into the misuse of user data. The social giant permitted apps to collect this information until 2015, but the United Kingdom watchdog said Tuesday it was concerned that many people on the site "may not have been sufficiently informed that their data was accessible in this way".

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The ICO said it expects to have wrapped up these investigations by the end of October.

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