The United Kingdom fined Facebook for allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest the online data of more than 87 million of its users without their consent. The tech giant’s security was breached when a researcher for Cambridge Analytica, a voter-profiling company connected to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, claimed he was using the data for academic purposes. Facebook never verified the researcher’s claims. The UK levied its maximum fine: a measly $660,000.
“Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information,” the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, the British agency that enforces data protection laws, wrote in a report. “It also found that the company failed to be transparent about how people’s data was harvested by others.”
$660,000 is a drop in the bucket for Facebook, which generates billions of dollars by selling its users’ data to advertisers. We need meaningful action to protect our democracy from Facebook’s power. Regulators must hold Facebook accountable – in the UK and in the US. That’s why CWA joined the Freedom From Facebook coalition, which is demanding that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) curb Facebook’s power by requiring the company to spin off Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, require network interoperability, and impose strong privacy rules.
Facebook Fined in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak (New York Times, July 10, 2018)
CWA joins Freedom From Facebook coalition (Speed Matters, July 9, 2018)
Coalition demands FTC curb Facebook’s power (Speed Matters, May 21, 2018)