Facebook to pay record $5bn to settle privacy concerns

BBC

25th July, 2019 12:39:52 printer

Facebook to pay record $5bn to settle privacy concerns

 

Facebook will pay a record $5bn fine to settle privacy concerns, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has said.

The social network must also establish an independent privacy committee that Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will not have control over.

The FTC had been probing allegations political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The probe then widened to include other issues such as facial recognition.

The $5bn fine is believed to be the biggest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers' privacy.

What did Facebook do wrong?

The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection began investigating Facebook in March 2018 after it was revealed that personal data was illegally harvested from an online personality quiz and sold to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm.

There were subsequent claims the data may have been used to try and influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election and the UK Brexit referendum.

Although only 270,000 people took the quiz, whistleblower Christopher Wylie alleges that the data of some 50 million users, mainly in the US, was harvested without their explicit consent via their friend networks.

But Cambridge Analytica was not the only firm to have access to users' personal data - the data was gathered using Facebook's infrastructure at that time, and many other developers had taken advantage of it without authorisation.

Facebook was fined £500,000 by the UK's data protection watchdog for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in October.


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