Facebook fights Cambridge Analytica fine

Facebook fights Cambridge Analytica fine
| Facebook has appealed against £500,000 fine imposed by the ICO

Social media giant Facebook has appealed against a fine imposed by the UK’s data watchdog following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The firm said that the ICO found no evidence of UK users’ personal data being shared inappropriately. Therefore, it claims the £500,000 penalty was unjustified. Last month, the regulator said Facebook’s failure to properly check apps and developers amounted to “serious breach of the law”.

2018 has been a tough year for Facebook’s image and reputation. Rather than accepting the £500,000 fine gracefully, the company has drawn greater attention to the issue. Facebook has appealed against the fine, apparently in a last ditch effort to stand its ground.

How the saga began

The story broke when data gathered on Facebook was shared with Cambridge Analytica to target political advertising in the US. Originally, it was reported that more than 1 million Facebook users in the UK had their personal details exposed.

Cambridge University academic, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, used a personality quiz to harvest up to 87 million Facebook users’ details. Now Facebook fights Cambridge Analytica fine.

However, Cambridge Analytica said it had only licensed data belonging to about 30 million people. And a probe by the Information Commissioner’s Office found no evidence that UK citizens were among them.

The argument put by the Information Commissioner’s Office seems straightforward enough. Facebook failed to protect user’s data effectively. Moreover, the firm did not react quickly enough when realizing there was a problem. Consequently, the ICO imposed the largest available financial penalty of £500,000. The ICO considers the amount appropriate for a company whose size wouldn’t approach the size of a single executive’s bonus.

Facebook has appealed – lawyers step in

In a statement, Facebook’s lawyer Anna Benckert said:

…the core of the ICO’s argument no longer relates to the events involving Cambridge Analytica. Instead, their reasoning challenges some of the basic principles of how people should be allowed to share information online, with implications which go far beyond just Facebook, which is why we have chosen to appeal. For example, under the ICO’s theory people should not be allowed to forward an email or message without having agreement from each person on the original thread.

A General Regulatory Chamber tribunal will consider the challenge from Facebook. If it is unhappy with the decision, Facebook can take the case to the Court of Appeal.

At the time of publishing, the ICO had not been notified by the tribunal that an appeal has been received. Watch this space for updates on ‘Facebook fights Cambridge Analytica fine’.

Sources and credits: BBC News, Tech Advisor

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