Facebook has admitted that it was “rocked to its very foundations” by the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Sir Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister, and now Facebook’s head of global affairs, told the BBC that the company “hadn’t done enough” in the past. He then continued; “But I don’t think it’s fair to say that the company did nothing.” He said:

Quite a lot of new measures have been introduced in recent years to keep data safe and to try and protect people’s privacy, but clearly not enough.

The social media giant is paying a record fine of $5 billion (£4 billion) to settle data privacy concerns with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The hefty fine follows allegations that the former British political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica, improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users in 2018.

Facebook has also agreed to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) $100m to settle charges of making misleading disclosures concerning its handling of users’ data.

Image caption CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced improved privacy protections at the last two F8 Summits.

Critics have complained that the FTC fine represents a drop in the ocean for Facebook, which reported better-than-expected quarterly revenues of $16.9 billion, up from $13.2 billion for the same period in 2018.

Sir Nick said this was all part of the challenges facing Facebook in earning back the public’s trust:

I totally accept that you could double, quadruple the fine and I expect people would still say it’s not enough,” he said. … I don’t think people are going to take the assurances from Facebook that all will be well in the future – I don’t think words are enough.

According to the BBC, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats said he joined Facebook because he is convinced that the culture is changing and that lawmakers need to have a serious conversation about “whether data-intensive companies like Facebook allow other companies to share and use data”.

Facebook was rocked to its very foundations by the Cambridge Analytica allegations, and since then, well before the FTC settlement announced today, Facebook has been trying to strike a better balance,

Sir Nick addd:

“I think Facebook has learned the hard way that if you allow access to data for developers and academics in a way that isn’t properly controlled, people’s privacy can be abused.

However, Facebook’s former chief security officer has given a different take on the affair.

Alex Stamos has suggested that the tech firm will financially benefit from the FTC’s intervention.

Sources: BBC News

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