UK Commissioner investigating 30 organisations in Facebook scandal

DenhamThe UK’s Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has said she is looking at the activities of 30 organisations as part of her investigation into the Facebook data scandal.

Denham said her office is also conducting a broader probe into how social media platforms were used in political campaigning.

“As part of my investigation into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social media companies and other commercial actors, the ICO is investigating 30 organisations, including Facebook,” she said.

“The ICO is looking at how data was collected from a third party app on Facebook and shared with Cambridge Analytica. We are also conducting a broader investigation into how social media platforms were used in political campaigning.”

Denham said that Facebook had been cooperating with her office, but that while she was pleased with the changes the company was making “it is too early to say whether they are sufficient under the law.”

She added: “This is an important time for privacy rights. Transparency and accountability must be considered, otherwise it will be impossible to rebuild trust in the way that personal information is obtained, used and shared online.

“This is why, besides my investigation, which could result in enforcement action, I will also be making clear public policy recommendations to help us understand how our personal data is used online and what we can do to control how it’s used.”

Earlier today, Facebook released a transcript of a conversation its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg conducted with the media on Wednesday, in which he said: “Life is about learning from the mistakes and figuring out what you need to do to move forward.”

He finished the Q&A saying: “Last thing I’ll say on this, I wish that I could snap my fingers and in three or six months have solved all of these issues. But I just think the reality is, given how complex Facebook is and how many systems there we need to rethink our relationship with people and our responsibility there across every single part of what we do. I do think this is a multi-year effort.

“It doesn’t mean its not going to get better, every month. I think it will continue to get better. I think part of the good news is that we’ve really started ramping up on this a year ago or more. So we’re not getting a cold start, we’re probably a year into a massive three-year push. My hope is that by the end of this year, we’ll have turned the corner on a lot of these issues and people see that things are getting a lot better.

“But these are just big issues, this is a big shift for us to take a lot more responsibility for how each of the tools are used, not just the developer platform, not just fake news, not just elections, but everything. And its going to take some time. And we’re committed to getting that right and we’re going to invest and keep on working until we do.”