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Fine imposed on Facebook over user privacy - United Kingdom lawmaker

11 July 2018

The fine - the maximum amount allowed - comes after revelations that as many as 87 million Facebook users had their data improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy with ties to the Trump campaign.

The penalty could be just the first in what might become several fines for Mark Zuckerberg as the Information Commissioner's.

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) today announced that the social media giant will be fined £500,000 for breaching data protection laws.

"The ICO's investigation concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information", the organisation said in a statement. The fine "sends a clear signal that I consider this a significant issue, especially when you look at the scale and the impact of this kind of data breach".

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

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

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

"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.

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

The U.K.'s probe adopted a wide lens, focusing not only on Facebook but the ecosystem of players - totaling 172 organizations and 285 individuals - involved in the collection and sale of data about web users for political purposes.

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. "We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the U.S. and other countries".

Since its entanglement with Cambridge Analytica became public, Facebook has pledged to review all third-party apps on the platform while introducing new transparency measures, including an online repository of all political ads that run on the site. It's also about half of what the Spanish data protection authorities past year extracted from to the firm for privacy failings.

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Fine imposed on Facebook over user privacy - United Kingdom lawmaker