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Facebook May Face $1.63 bn in EU Fine Over Data Breach

Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have already faced hearings at US Congress over Cambridge Analytica data breach that affected 87 million users

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Facebook faces $1.63 bn in EU fine over fresh data breach. VOA
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Embroiled in another massive data breach, Facebook may face $1.63 billion in fine from the European Union (EU) privacy watchdog, the media reported.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, has asked Facebook to submit more details in the incident where data of over 50 million users were hacked via “Access Tokens” or digital keys.

The “privacy watchdog could fine Facebook as much as $1.63 billion for the data breach”, the report added.

“We are concerned at the fact that this breach was discovered on Tuesday (last week) and affects many millions of user accounts but Facebook is unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users at this point,” the regulator was quoted as saying.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the social media giant will respond to questions from the EU watchdog.

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This Feb. 19, 2014, photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

In the biggest-ever security breach after Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook on Friday admitted hackers broke into nearly 50 million users’ accounts by stealing their “access tokens” or digital keys.

This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts.

Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they do not need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.

Senator Mark R. Warner has also called for a full probe into the incident.

Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Warner said it was high time the Congress stepped up and took action to protect privacy and security of social media users.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook also said it was taking precautionary step to reset access tokens for another 40 million accounts that have been subject to a “View As” look-up in the 2017.

As a result, around 90 million people will now have to log back into Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook login.

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Reacting to the new data breach, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “While I’m glad we found this, fixed the vulnerability, and secured the accounts that may be at risk, the reality is we need to continue developing new tools to prevent this from happening in the first place.”

Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have already faced hearings at US Congress over Cambridge Analytica data breach that affected 87 million users. (IANS)

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Facebook Must End Far Right’s Fundraising: British Leader

In recent years, Facebook has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises, including interference during the US presidential election 2016 and the Brexit vote, allowing dissemination of hate speech and a data breach affecting millions of users

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook CEO must put an end to far-right activists’ fundraising on the social networking platform, said British Labour leader Tom Watson, while criticising Mark Zuckerberg for having a “contempt for social responsibility”, the media reported.

According to a Guardian report, Tommy Robinson, a British far-right activist with more than 1 million followers on Facebook, has been receiving financial, political and moral support from a hidden global network of US thinktanks, right-wing Australians and Russian trolls.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds through online donations, some via the social network.

Although Facebook has disabled Robinson’s access to the donate tool, meant to be reserved for charities alone, but supporters visiting Robinson’s Facebook profile continued to be directed towards his website where they could make donations through a form, the British daily reported on Saturday.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the action.

“We have removed the “Donate Now” button from this page. This function is only available for pages that list themselves as a “charitable organisation” and allows them to link to an external webpage of their choice. As this page is for a person we have now removed this,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Facebook is Robinson’s main social network after Twitter suspended him for claiming “Islam promotes killing people” in March, the report claimed.

In a blog post, Watson wrote: “Today I call on him to give a full explanation of how this dire breach of Facebook regulation occurred, pledge that it will never happen again, and, as an apology, make a match-fund donation to Hope Not Hate (a UK-based advocacy group).

Facebook should be ashamed that it had enabled Robinson’s efforts to “divide communities and stoke up hate”, said Matthew McGregor, Hope Not Hate’s campaigns director.

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“Facebook has continually failed to deal with the fact that their platform is vulnerable to exploitation by extremists, until after it is too late. Warm words after the damage is done don’t help reverse the damage caused,” he added.

In recent years, Facebook has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises, including interference during the US presidential election 2016 and the Brexit vote, allowing dissemination of hate speech and a data breach affecting millions of users. (IANS)