Facebook has reportedly received a symbolic fine from UK privacy regulators for the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal which saw the personal data of 87 million users left vulnerable.
Bloomberg reports that Facebook has received a fine of £500,000 British Pounds ($645,000), for reference this is roughly the amount of revenue that Facebook generates in ten minutes. This is the maximum fine that the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can place on a company due to rules which predate the European Union’s recently updated user data regulations.
The ICO stated that between 2007 and 2014, “Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by allowing application developers access to their information without sufficiently clear and informed consent.” The statement furth reads: “Facebook also failed to keep the personal information secure because it failed to make suitable checks on apps and developers using its platform. These failings meant one developer, Dr Aleksandr Kogan and his company GSR, harvested the Facebook data of up to 87 million people worldwide, without their knowledge.” Kogan is the researcher who collected users’ information and subsequently sold it to Cambridge Analytica.
UK Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham spoke at a privacy conference in Brussels this week where Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the keynote address. Denham discussed Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal stating that “a company of its size and expertise should have known better and it should have done better.”
Facebook commented on the ICO’s decision stating: “While we respectfully disagree with some of their findings, we have said before that we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015. We are grateful that the ICO has acknowledged our full cooperation throughout their investigation, and have also confirmed they have found no evidence to suggest U.K. Facebook users’ data was in fact shared with Cambridge Analytica,” the company said.