Facebook reaches agreement with U.K. over Cambridge Analytica scandal

As part of the agreement, Facebook agreed to pay a fine of £500,000 ($643,000) and made no admission of liability.
Image: Mark Zuckerberg testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Facebook's plans for a cryptocurrency in Washington on Oct. 23, 2019.
Mark Zuckerberg testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Facebook's plans for a cryptocurrency in Washington on Oct. 23, 2019.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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/ Source: CNBC.com
By Elizabeth Schulze, CNBC

Facebook reached an agreement with the U.K. data regulator on Wednesday over an investigation into the misuse of Facebook users’ personal data in political campaigns.

As part of the agreement, Facebook agreed to pay a fine of £500,000 ($643,000) and made no admission of liability.

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The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office issued the fine in October 2018, accusing Facebook of “serious breaches” of data protection law related to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The U.K. said Facebook enabled third-party developers to harvest the data of 87 million people worldwide without their knowledge, including 1 million users in the U.K.

Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the data and used it, in part, to target ads for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook appealed the fine last November. In the agreement announced Wednesday, Facebook and the ICO agreed to withdraw their appeals.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the ICO. As we have said before, we wish we had done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015,” Facebook attorney Harry Kinmonth said in a statement.

Kinmonth added that Facebook is “continuing to build new controls to help people protect and manage their information.”

“We are pleased to hear that Facebook has taken, and will continue to take, significant steps to comply with the fundamental principles of data protection,” ICO Deputy Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said in a statement. “With this strong commitment to protecting people’s personal information and privacy, we expect that Facebook will be able to move forward and learn from the events of this case.”