The UK Information Commissioner's Office is threatening the company with the maximum penalty allowed, it said on Wednesday when issuing its first findings in a probe that looked at some 30 organisations, including social-media platforms such as Facebook.
The ICO isn't just looking at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica-indeed, it folded this affair into a pre-existing investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns. "We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the USA and other countries".
"We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the U.S. and other countries", Facebook's chief privacy officer Erin Egan added in a statement reported by the Post.
The regulator says Facebook broke the law, breaching the UK Data Protection Act twice.
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The Leave.EU campaign, which pushed for the U.K.to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum, is also being investigated for exploiting personal data that people had given to a company for insurance purposes. Never before have political groups had the ability to gather so much information about so many people and use that data in an effort to sway voters' political opinions. "We're reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon". If the Cambridge Analytica incident happened closer to the present, it would've fallen under stricter data protection laws and resulted in higher fines.
The ICO is also launching a criminal prosecution against SCL Elections, an organisation affiliated with Cambridge Analytica, and has sent warning letters to 11 political parties and "notices compelling them to agree to audits of their data protection policies".
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Facebook's revenue a year ago totalled $40.7bn (£30.7bn), so half a million pounds.
Consider the £500,000 fine more like the beginning of companies like Facebook's woes, not lawmakers' final solutions.
The ICO is also investigating 29 other social media companies, political campaigns, parties and other commercial actors over their roles in the European Union referendum.
Charity Privacy International said that regulators were getting tougher on Facebook.
Facebook is facing a class action in Australia for allegedly breaching privacy laws over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal.
"The alleged breaches surround the circumstances in which a third party, Cambridge Analytica, gained unauthorised access to users' profiles and information", the company said. Among the issues they are still probing is an assertion by Cambridge Analytica that it had deleted the data, after the social media giant requested it in 2015.
In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook notified users who were affected by the data misuse with alerts at the tops of their news feeds.