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UK regulator moves toward fining Facebook over Cambridge Analytica

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

A regulator in Britain could fine Facebook more than $660,000 over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Why it matters: The fine is the first regulatory penalty for the social giant as a result of the data dustup. It may not be the last.

What they’re doing: The British Information Commissioner’s Office said it could fine Facebook 500,000 pounds, the maximum possible, for possible failures in how it handled the collection of data used by Cambridge Analytica. It also said the company might not have properly told users their data could be exposed.

  • Facebook, however, has a chance to respond to the allegations and proposed penalty.

What they’re saying: "As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015," said Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, in a statement. "We're reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon."

Reality check: While it’s the maximum amount allowed under the law, the proposed fine of just over $660,000 likely won't make a large dent in the company's finances. Facebook brought in more than $11 billion in ad revenue during the first quarter of 2018 alone.

The big picture: The office’s investigation will continue. It stretches far beyond Facebook and Cambridge, to other aspects of the use of data in politics.