Facebook is recently heavily criticized and fined for secretly accessing the personal data of its millions of users. The data breach was made possible with the help of the renowned political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Reportedly, the biggest social media of the current time is subjected to a penalty of 500,000-pound approx $663,000 USD to steal the personal data about which its users are unaware of. The scandal came to light when an investigation was carried out on the Cambridge Analytica by the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office for unlawfully extracting personal data.
The amount may look small for a giant company like Facebook, but it certainly sends a warning signal for all the companies out there that now face penalties of up to 2 percent of global revenue. It is covered under the European Union data protection regulations to protect the privacy of data.
The agency called Cambridge Analytica has been declared insolvent after the allegation came out that it had garnered personal data from 87 million Facebook users’ accounts which eventually helped Donald Trump to emerge victorious in the 2016 presidential election. It helped the campaigning agencies who worked for Trump to give important information about the likes and dislikes when it comes to politics.
The penalty looks like a drop in the ocean as Facebook is procuring huge profits every day. It definitely put a bad impact in the image of the company who rose to fame within such a short span of time with its impressive features. It has brought the company’s shares down for a temporary period and forced the founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to give testimony before Congress regarding the whole matter.
The Facebook has been given a chance to respond to the allegations before ICO arrive any final decision on the penalties. The allegation is that Facebook has failed to protect their user’s information and was not clear about the third-party data interference. Keeping in view this kind of malpractice, the British government also issued a statutory law pertaining to the utilization of data in political campaigns.
The firm in question, Cambridge Analytica, is a London based agency backed by Republicans who had worked for the 2016 presidential election. Mark Zuckerberg admitted that his company had procured information illegitimately from its users through an academic intermediary. As per reports, the firm prepared some psychographic profiles to impact the minds of susceptible individuals to gain votes for Trump.
Owing to so much controversy, the firm Cambridge Analytica closed its operation in May. Currently, Erin Egan, the chief privacy officer, Facebook released a statement that the company is examining the report and will soon respond to the whole affair.
For those who do not know, this is not for the first time Facebook has come under the scanner. Before this controversy, it had faced charges from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This criminal charge has brought down the reputation of Facebook temporarily and on the other hand, raised serious concern about how intelligence is being manipulated in the current days to fulfill political ambitions.