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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

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.

Facebook
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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Mark Zuckerberg Not Going to Sell WhatsApp or Instagram

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker's call to break his company, saying he's not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram

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Mark Zukerberg, Facebook, Instagram, Sell, Business
Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process. VOA

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker’s call to break his company, saying he’s not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram at any cost.

Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri Republican) tweeted that he met Zuckerberg during his visit to Washington, DC on Thursday, and asked him to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

“Just finished meeting with @facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Had a frank conversation. Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition. 1) Sell WhatsApp & Instagram 2) Submit to independent, third-party audit on censorship. He said no to both,” tweeted Hawley, one of Facebook’s biggest critics.

Zuckerberg also met President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

“Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of @Facebook in the Oval Office today,” tweeted Trump.

This is Facebook CEO’s first public trip to Washington since he testified before House and Senate committees in April last year over Cambridge Analytica data scandal affecting 87 million users globally.

According to media reports, Zuckerberg met several lawmakers this time and discussions included allegations that Facebook curtails conservative speech.

Mark Zukerberg, Facebook, Instagram, Sell, Business
Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a US lawmaker’s call to break his company, saying he’s not going to sell WhatsApp or Instagram at any cost. Pixabay

As the chorus grows to break up Facebook, the social networking platform’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said that it won’t serve any purpose.

“You could break us up, you could break other tech companies up, but you actually don’t address the underlying issues people are concerned about,” she had said earlier.

Several US senators have called for breaking up the social network amid repeated data breaches and privacy violations on the platform.

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Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, has stressed that authorities should take a serious look at breaking up Facebook as the social network platform is a “utility that has gone unregulated”.

Another Democratic 2020 candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, has also stressed upon the possibility of breaking up Facebook.

Zuckerberg, however, rejected these calls, saying the size of the social media giant was actually a benefit to its users and the security of the democratic process. (IANS)