Facebook Agrees To Pay ICO Cambridge Analytica Fine

Facebook has agreed to drop its appeal against the half a million pound fine by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), over its role in the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal in 2018.

According to the ICO, Facebook has agreed to pay the £500,000 fine, but has made “made no admission of liability.”

In November 2018 Facebook had launched an appeal against the half a million pound fine by the ICO, over its role in the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal. It said the ICO fine was unjustified as British data was not shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Appeal settlement

The ICO hit Facebook with a notice of intent in July 2018 and later confirmed the maximum fine of £500,000 in October 2018.

Cambridge Analytica was at the centre of a row over the alleged misuse of personal data on 87 million people, mostly in the US, and such as the scandal that the political consultancy was forced to shut down soon afterwards.

“An agreement has now been reached between the parties,” said the ICO. “As part of this agreement, Facebook and the ICO have agreed to withdraw their respective appeals. Facebook has agreed to pay the £500,000 fine but has made no admission of liability in relation to the MPN. The fine is not kept by ICO but is paid to HM Treasury’s consolidated fund.

“The ICO welcomes the agreement reached with Facebook for the withdrawal of their appeal against our Monetary Penalty Notice and agreement to pay the fine,” said James Dipple-Johnstone, the ICO deputy commissioner.

“The ICO’s main concern was that UK citizen data was exposed to a serious risk of harm,” sid Dipple-Johnstone. “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.”

Major changes

Facebook said it was also pleased to settle the case.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the ICO,” said Harry Kinmonth, director and associate general counsel at, Facebook. “As we have said before, we wish we had done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015.”

“We made major changes to our platform back then, significantly restricting the information which app developers could access,” he added. “The ICO has stated that it has not discovered evidence that the data of Facebook users in the EU was transferred to Cambridge Analytica by Dr Kogan. However, we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the ICO’s wider and ongoing investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes.”

In July this year the US Federal Trade Commission approved a record-breaking fine of $5 billion (£4bn) for Facebook’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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