British regulators have issued a maximum fine possible to Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal that shook the social media network. Facebook will now have to pay £500000 after the British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica violated user privacy and obtained data of over 80 million users to influence 2016 US Presidential Elections.
According to the British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Facebook had not deployed sufficient privacy protections and thus failed to identify warning signs that Cambridge Analytica was spoofing data off the social network. ICO concluded that Facebook has violated the 1998 Data Protection Act by failing to safeguard the sensitive information of its users.
ICO first launched its inquiry in May 2017 when the Brexit saga was unfolding, a year before the Cambridge-Analytica scandal broke out. It wanted to investigate the possibility of political parties to have manipulated the Brexit vote by launching digital campaigns to target a demographic and alter their political persuasions.
With the announcement of this fine, ICO is also seeking answers from Facebook as to who had access to the scraped Facebook data and if any datasets were derived? It is also concerned if Russia gained access to this database and all organizations who benefited from this data and failed to delete it when asked by Facebook.
Based on further discussions between the regulators and Facebook, the fine could change as another update is expected in October. Following the scandal, Cambridge Analytica shut down its operations in May.
Facebook also vowed to help Pakistan in the upcoming elections. It announced in April that only verified political ads will run on the social network. Now Facebook is working closely with Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and has launched a Pakistan Election Integrity Initiative.