Even though news of the Cambridge Analytica data breach broke last spring, Facebook continues to face the consequences of its lax policies. Just this week, Facebook finally reached an agreement with UK data regulators to pay a $643,000 fine for failing to safeguard user data. However, the terms of the agreement will not require Facebook to admit any liability.
In an investigation, these regulators concluded that Facebook exposed users’ data to app developers without their informed consent, constituting a “serious breach” of data protection law. However, the fine is merely a slap on the wrist for the social media giant, and the fact that it doesn’t need to admit fault means it’s getting away clean. However, regulators still claimed victory, and said they hope the incident teaches Facebook a lesson.
“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,” the UK Information Commissioner’s Office 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.”
Even though the fine represents just a drop in the bucket of Facebook’s monthly revenue, at least it constitutes some form of public embarrassment. Forcing the company to face scrutiny, no matter how small, is a net positive for user privacy.
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