11 July 2018

mark zuckerberg facebook - the big four tech businesses - data fine

Facebook has today landed a £500,000 (approx. $662,000) fine for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data fiasco.

For a standard business, a half-a-million-pound fine is catastrophic, but is it really enough for a global firm with a turnover of more than £37bn ($40bn) in 2017?

To me, they got off incredibly lightly. When you consider that just a few short months after news of the data scandal broke, the GDPR came into force. Following that new regulation, Facebook would have faced a significantly higher fine of up to 4% of global turnover – £1.4bn ($1.9bn). This was basically a rap on the knuckles.

Over the course of a year, the Facebook platform allowed an app which went on to harvest 87m user profiles from around the world, which were then used by Cambridge Analytica in both the American election and the UK’s EU referendum.

Data safety is the top priority

For a company that generates so much revenue – reportedly £500,000 every five minutes! – it’s astonishing that the fine is so low. It’s barely a drop in the ocean – hardly a penalty for one of the biggest data oversights in modern history. Whilst there is no denying the reputation damage done to the social network, people are still using it, firms are still paying for ads and it is still one of the world’s biggest technology businesses.

With that in mind, Facebook should be setting the example to others. Fancy TV adverts and social media campaigns aren’t enough to prove that the firm has learned its lesson – actions speak significantly louder than words. Whilst this fine is hardly punishment at all, hopefully the network has learned some valuable lessons that we won’t see repeated.

In the modern world, data security has to be the number one priority of every business.

What do you think? Is the fine enough? Are Facebook doing enough to make up for the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

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