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Facebook to be fined £500,000 over data breaches

Facebook to be fined £500,000 over data breaches

The total fine of £500,000 ($663,130) is the maximum possible amount that the ICO could have penalized Facebook.

In this Tuesday, April 18, 2017, file photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif.

Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, wrote in her accompanying report that Facebook should have done more to explain to its users why they were targeted for specific political advertisements or messaging. The sum is a record penalty imposed by the UK's data watchdog, but by Facebook's standards, it was chump change. And good thing for Mark Zuckerberg and company: The maximum fine under GDPR is 4% of global revenue, which would be worth almost $2 billion for Facebook.

Facebook is staring down its first fine for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data about millions of people, potentially opening the door for governments around the world to slap the social media giant with other tougher penalties and stricter regulation.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company was cooperating fully with an investigation by Australia's privacy commissioner.

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

"It's an important moment for data protection", she added.

"We are at a crossroads", she said. A group of industry executives met with France's President Emmanuel Macron to discuss how to use technology to improve people's lives. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", she said in a statement.

Cambridge Analytica, a London firm financed by wealthy Republican donors, worked for the 2016 Trump campaign and for a while employed Steve Bannon, the CEO of Trump's campaign and later a White House adviser.

Facebook has admitted the scandal - in which the personal information of 87million people was harvested by a quiz app and sold to a political campaign agency - was "clearly a breach of trust". However, it did so today because a parliamentary committee is also probing the issue of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and political influence, and the ICO wanted to help inform the committee's work.

British lawmakers have launched an inquiry into "fake news" and its effect on election campaigns, and have increasingly focused on Cambridge Analytica.

ICO, which does not normally publish its findings, said it would give the public another update on its investigation in October.

Facebook's chief privacy officer Erin Egan said: "We should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015". The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into Facebook's ties to Cambridge Analytica.

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