After a year of bickering, Facebook has agreed to pay a hefty fine for allowing its users’ personal data to be secretly harvested and used in political campaigns.
The company was originally fined £500,000 ($644,000) by the British data privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), in October last year. The social media giant appealed the decision but ultimately relented and agreed to pay up. Facebook did not explain why it changed its mind, but both parties said they are happy with the outcome.
Mark Zuckerberg’s company was heavily criticized for failing to stop the now-defunct British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica from secretly harvesting the personal data of millions of Facebook accounts and selling it to political strategists during several election campaigns, including the US 2016 presidential election.
After an intense backlash, Facebook vowed to protect its users’ privacy better. Zuckerberg apologized to everyone affected by the scandal. “We expect that Facebook will be able to move forward and learn from the events of this case,” ICO Deputy Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said on Wednesday.
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