Facebook has been fined by the UK watchdog for breaking the law on data protection. According to an investigation, the social media company has breached the Data Protection Act 1998 on two occasions.
ICO fines facebook for two breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998
The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) issued a fine for Facebook, in part for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A fine of PS500,000 is the maximum sanction under the UK's data protection regime.
According to the ICO, Facebook had violated the Data Protection Act by collecting and sharing personal data without adequate security measures in place. It also failed to disclose that it had used the data for advertising.
In announcing the fine, the ICO said it was hoping that Facebook would improve its privacy practices. Elizabeth Denham, the ICO's information commissioner, said she wanted to restore trust in a democratic system.
She also pointed out that the ICO has been investigating data analytics for political purposes. Specifically, the ICO had been looking into the use of social media data for political campaigns.
CMA steps up regulation of the Big Tech sector
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has taken a number of steps to increase regulation of the Big Tech sector. These include the creation of a new Digital Markets Unit to investigate potential misconduct by technology companies and impose sanctions for failure to comply.
CMA will also require a code of conduct that will govern the behaviour of powerful digital firms. This will include their treatment of users and how they do business with other companies. It will also impose penalties for senior managers who fail to respond to requests for information.
Another measure is to treat the largest, most dominant technology firms as utilities. A "utility" designation would mean that they are essential services, like water, gas and electricity. Such a designation would allow the DMU to intervene and impose fines of up to 10% of their annual global turnover.
European MEPs call for a full investigation into Facebook's role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal
MEPs have called for a full investigation into Facebook's role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw millions of user's data harvested without permission. The scandal has raised concerns about privacy online and is believed to have affected the US presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned by European and British parliaments to answer questions. His appearance has been described as "crucial". However, he has not been able to attend the hearing in person. Instead, he agreed to meet privately with representatives of Parliament's political groups.
Facebook has also been subject to an investigation in the UK, which found that it had failed to ensure the protection of users' information. According to the UK's Information Commissioner's Office, Facebook allowed application developers access to personal information of people without their knowledge or consent.
Facebook defends its acquisition of Giphy
Giphy is an online platform for making animated images, such as GIFs. It supplies its services to several major social networks, including Facebook and Instagram. These websites use Giphy's SDK to find users on other apps.
Several senators criticized the deal. One senator, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren, said the merger "would have a chilling effect on innovation and competition in the marketplace." She suggested it would reduce the competition between social media platforms.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled against the acquisition. The CMA said the deal could reduce the number of competitors in the display advertising market. It also found that the sale of Giphy would harm the competition between social media sites.
As a result of this decision, Facebook has launched a review of the deal. In the future, Facebook plans to integrate more with Giphy.
Google pledges more restrictions on its Chrome browser
In the latest move by Google, the company has vowed to do more with its Chrome browser. This includes not only the usual suspects like cookies and tracking, but also a new set of data sharing restrictions.
The company will no longer use LiveRamp ATS for its targeted ads, and it will also stop using Unified ID 2.0, the encrypted email address of consumers. It has also pledged to take a more active role in privacy and antitrust. While the changes may seem minor, they will have an effect on the advertising industry as a whole.
One of the major changes is the Privacy Sandbox, a feature that allows users to customize their browsing experience. Users can disable the feature or opt in to try out the Topics feature, which assigns websites to a set of categories. Those topics can be rearranged and disabled at will.