Monday July 16, 2018
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Facebook Fined in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak

Over the period, it emerged that Facebook had failed to ensure that Cambridge Analytica had deleted personal data harvested about millions of its members in breach of the platform's rules

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Before its collapse, Cambridge Analytica insisted it had indeed wiped the data after Facebook's erasure request in December 2015. Pixabay
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UK’s data protection watchdog plans to slap a fine of 500,000 pounds ($662,501) on Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal. This is the highest permitted fine under Britain’s data protection law.

In its investigation, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that Facebook broke British law by failing to safeguard people’s information, and by not revealing how people’s data was harvested by others.

Along with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has been the focus of the investigation since February when evidence emerged that an app had been used to harvest the data of an estimated 87 million Facebook users across the world.

In its latest progress report, the regulator also said it intended to take criminal action against Cambridge Analytica’s defunct parent company SCL Elections, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The regulator also said Aggregate IQ — which worked with the Vote Leave campaign — must stop processing UK citizens’ data. It has also written to UK’s 11 main political parties compelling them to have their data protection practices audited.

This, the Information Commissioner’s Office explained, was in part because it was concerned they could have bought lifestyle information about members of the public from data brokers, who might have not obtained the necessary consent.

In particular, ICO raised concern about one data broker: Emma’s Diary. The firm offers medical advice to pregnant women and gift packs after babies are born.

Facebook mobile app
Facebook mobile app. Pixabay

ICO said it was concerned about how transparent the firm had been about its political activities. The Labour Party had confirmed using the firm, but did not provide other details at this point beyond saying it intended to take some form of regulatory action.

The service’s owner Lifecycle Marketing could not be reached for comment. But it has told the Guardian that it does not agree with the ICO’s findings.

The ICO’s action comes 16 months after it began the ongoing probe into political campaigns’ use of personal data during the Brexit referendum campaign.

Over the period, it emerged that Facebook had failed to ensure that Cambridge Analytica had deleted personal data harvested about millions of its members in breach of the platform’s rules.

Also Read: Facebook’s Helicopter Drone Project Got Grounded: Report

Before its collapse, Cambridge Analytica insisted it had indeed wiped the data after Facebook’s erasure request in December 2015.

But ICO said it had seen evidence that copies of the data had been shared with others.

“This potentially brings into question the accuracy of the deletion certificates provided to Facebook,” it said. (IANS)

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Facebook will not Remove Fake News – but will ‘Demote’ it

The site had done a trial displaying a red warning icon next to articles that fact checkers had identified as false, but later said it found this approach had "entrenched deeply held beliefs

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The company on Wednesday held an event in New York where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem.
The company on Wednesday held an event in New York where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem. Pixabay

Facebook has said that it will not remove fake news from its platform because it does not violate its community standards. Instead, it says posts that it deems to be fake news will be “demoted” in the news feed.

The social network is currently running an advertising campaign in Britain that declares “fake news is not our friend”. But it said publishers often had “very different points of view” and removing fabricated posts would be “contrary to the basic principles of free speech”, the BBC reported on Friday.

Facebook has been scrutinized for its role in spreading fake news after evidence emerged that Russia tried to influence US voters using the social network.

Facebook mobile app
Facebook mobile app. Pixabay

The company on Wednesday held an event in New York where it sought to convince journalists it was tackling the problem.

“We created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice,” John Hegeman from Facebook said while responding to CNN.

Also Read: Facebook Labels Russian Users as ‘Interested in Treason’

“We allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed,” a Facebook spokeswoman told CNN.

The site had done a trial displaying a red warning icon next to articles that fact checkers had identified as false, but later said it found this approach had “entrenched deeply held beliefs”. (IANS)