Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2015, Facebook went through an investigation into the use of private data.
The Cambridge Analytica Scandal
The Cambridge Analytica scandal caused fear over social media firms’ ability to influence political campaigns by using personal data.
The Information Commissioner’s Office imposed a £500k fine on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) for violating data privacy rules.
Facebook did not admit liability for violating data privacy rules.
Facebook appealed the fine in order to avoid the cost.
However, the firm dropped its appeal later on during the appeal process.
As a result, Facebook agreed to pay the fine.
The deputy commissioner for the Information Commissioner’s Office raised concerns regarding exposing citizens’s private data to influence public opinion as well as political campaigns.
Fear of social media influence on political campaigns increase amid expectations of an early general election in the United Kingdom.
The £500k fine imposed on Facebook serves as an example for other social media companies.
The cost of violating the privacy of personal data disincentivizes social media companies who breach data privacy rules.
In a time of advanced technological development, protection of data privacy is crucial to democracy.
Breach of personal data protection does not only violate customer rights but also threatens democratic governance.
Facebook pledges to strengthen its measures to restrict the access political advertisers and app developers have to customers’ personal information.
However, the measures taken by Facebook does not solve certain problems.
For example, app developers who accessed private data without permission before 2015 retained the private data they accessed.
According to Sky News, app developers accessed the personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users.
As the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed, Donald Trump’s election campaign used these data to help President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Future of Data Protection
As the United Kingdom general election gets closer, social media companies are likely to approach issues of data protection carefully.
Social media companies such as Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) and Snapchat (NYSE: SNAP) work on improving their data protection systems.
Following Facebook’s experience of paying £500k for violating data privacy, more social media companies are likely to tighten their data protection systems to avoid fines.