Facebook has dodged a major bullet, and was fined just $645,000 for its Cambridge Analytica data scandal by the U.K.’s privacy watchdog, the maximum fine permissible and mere pennies for the social media behemoth that had $39.9 billion in revenue in 2017.
The U.K.’s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) called the scandal a “serious breach of data protection” after confirming that the personal information of at least 1 million U.K. users was among the harvested data by Facebook, and consequently put at risk, as reported by Reuters. As a result, the ICO fined Facebook 500,000 pounds, equivalent to about $645,000.
The ICO also suggested that it would have fined Facebook more money if it could have. “The fine would inevitably have been significantly higher under the GDPR,” said Elizabeth Denham, the country’s information commissioner, according to the Wall Street Journal. “A company of its size and expertise should have known better and it should have done better.” The GDPR refers to the EU's recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation.
Facebook told the WSJ that it was reviewing the ICO’s decision.
“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,” a spokeswoman for the social network said.
The Wall Street Journal also noted that the social network could be fined a maximum of $1.63 billion if it is found to have breached the GDPR in the European Union.
The GDPR was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016, and was enacted on May 25, 2018. The aim of GDPR is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches. Organizations that are not now compliant could face heavy