Facebook hit with United Kingdom fine over user privacy

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose Mc Enery Convention Center in San Jose California

Facebook could face a hefty compensation bill in Australia after a leading litigation funder lodged a complaint with the country's privacy regulator over users' personal data shared with a British political consultancy.

International Monetary Fund said it has complained to the Australian Information Commissioner alleging breaches of privacy laws over the data sharing.

The Information Commissioner's Office, a privacy and data watchdog office in the United Kingdom, announced Tuesday that it would fine Facebook the maximum allowed penalty of $664,000 for what it said was improperly overlooked warning signs and for lacking overall privacy protections that could have prevented Cambridge Analytica from obtaining the sensitive data, The Washington Post reported. Facebook is now facing inquiries by the U.S. Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation now under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report", the spokeswoman said.

"A significant finding of the ICO investigation is the conclusion that Facebook has not been sufficiently transparent to enable users to understand how and why they might be targeted by a political party or campaign", Denham wrote.

Cambridge Analytica used data from millions of Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign.

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The watchdog also plans to bring criminal charges against Cambridge Analytica's defunct parent company SCL Elections.

Facebook has faced widespread criticism from users and scrutiny around the world from regulators and lawmakers since news broke that users' data had been shared.

Just 53 Australians downloaded the "this is your digital life" Facebook quiz app responsible for the Cambridge Analytica data breach.

It's not the first time, however, that Europe has penalized Facebook.

European regulators have been going hard on tech companies lately.

SCANDAL FALLOUT, The fines are starting to come for Facebook in several countries. Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin wrote this story.

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