Facebook reaches agreement with UK regulator over suspected data abuse

Signage is displayed outside Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook reached an agreement with the U.K. data regulator on Wednesday over an investigation into the company’s misuses of personal data in political campaigns.

As part of the agreement, Facebook agreed to pay a fine of £500,000 ($643,000) and made no admission of liability.

The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued the fine in October 2018, accusing Facebook of “serious breaches” of data protection law related to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The U.K. said Facebook enabled third-party developers to harvest the data of 87 million people worldwide without their knowledge, including 1 million users in the U.K.

Facebook appealed the fine in November 2018. In the agreement announced Wednesday, both Facebook and the ICO agreed to withdraw their appeals.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the ICO. As we have said before, we wish we had done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015,” Facebook Director and Associate General Counsel Harry Kinmonth said in a statement.

Kinmonth added Facebook is “continuing to build new controls to help people protect and manage their information.”

“We are pleased to hear that Facebook has taken, and will continue to take, significant steps to comply with the fundamental principles of data protection,” said James Dipple-Johnstone, ICO deputy commissioner, in a statement. “With this strong commitment to protecting people’s personal information and privacy, we expect that Facebook will be able to move forward and learn from the events of this case.”


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