Facebook Slapped With £500,000 Fine for Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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

Image Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by US politicians over the case

The office is charged with protecting the privacy of United Kingdom citizens and it "concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information" and "found that the company failed to be transparent about how people's data was harvested by others".

"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.

In a statement the company said it had lodged a representative complaint with the Office of the Australia Information Commissioner (OAIC) that seeks compensation for "alleged breaches of the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1998".

"We have been working closely with the Information Commissioner's Office in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the USA and other countries", he added.

The maximum fine was issued after this programme and the Guardian newspaper revealed how political strategy firm Cambridge Analytica harvested data from millions of users of the social media site.

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Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by Donald Trump in 2016, has denied its work on the USA president's successful election campaign made use of data.

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Facebook will get a chance to respond to the proposed penalties before the ICO releases a final decision.

Facebook admitted in April that as many as 87 million people could have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct data firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

The sum is a record penalty imposed by the UK's data watchdog, but by Facebook's standards, it was chump change. The ICO said it was providing the interim report to help that inquiry. "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", Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement.

More recent developments could leave Facebook on the hook for significantly more if this happens again.

The UK's ICO on Wednesday ruled Facebook had twice broken British data protection laws - by failing to safeguard people's information, and by failing to be properly transparent about how that info can be used.

It said it would work with Slattery Lawyers to investigate whether the claim for compensation was possible. But what about all those millions of users who failed to read all the terms and conditions of the data-harvesting quizzes they took on the site? But not all the data may have been deleted, according to some reports.

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