In another major setback to the social marketing giant, Facebook faces a defamation suit worth £500,000 by UK privacy watchdog in reference to breach of data laws. Facebook broke the country’s Data protection Act by making users’ information available to a third-party app linked to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm. The California based company and Cambrigde Analytica are believed to have indulged in negotiations to share user data thus compromising the privacy of over 87 million users.
The £500,000 fine, which forms part of a notice of intent sent to Facebook by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), is the biggest the regulator can issue in its investigation. The investigation, led by Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, found that the social marketing giant had infringed the law by failing to fortify user’s data and that the company had also failed to be lucid about how personal data was being used by others. "Fines and prosecutions punish the bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system," said Denham.
The digital information sharing by Facebook is also linked to various breach of conduct of information for political gains during election campaign.
The ICO discovered that Facebook had breached its own rules and failed to make sure Cambridge Analytica had deleted personal data of millions of users.
While Cambridge Analytica insisted it had indeed wiped the data after Facebook's erasure request in December 2015, the ICO said it had corroboration that copies of the data had been shared with others.
“We’re reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon,” said Erin Egan, the company’s chief privacy officer. Meanwhile, Facebook has the right to respond to the regulator’s fine before a final conclusion is made in the case.