Following the turmoil of events between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said it will plough all its powers into assisting with the investigation.
The social media company came under fire after data of 50million users had been leaked by Cambridge Analytica, which claims to specialise in data-focused marketing and political campaigns.
Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said that the agency is investigating the circumstances, in which Facebook user data may have been illegally acquired and used.
“It’s part of our ongoing investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes, which was launched to consider how political parties and campaigns, data analytics companies and social media platforms in the UK are using and analysing people’s personal information to micro target voters,” Denham said. “It is important that the public are fully aware of how information is used and shared in modern political campaigns and the potential impact on their privacy.”
In a statement, the commissioner said the body will investigate how Facebook data was acquired and used by Cambridge Analytica, its parent company SCL, and academic Aleksandr Kogan.
According to reports, Cambridge Analytica failed to grant the ICO access to its servers within the deadline set by the ICO.
“This is a complex and far-reaching investigation for my office and any criminal or civil enforcement actions arising from it will be pursued vigorously,” Danhem said. “We are continuing to invoke all of our powers and are pursuing a number of live lines of inquiry.”
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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also come under fire following the data breach concerns, as he is urged to speak out regarding the incident.
Amid the investigation social media firms Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat saw their stocks drop in the last 48 hours. Facebook lost $60bn of its stock market value, according to Reuters, whilst Twitter fell by 9% and Snapchat 4%. Many have called for users to delete Facebook following the incident, but it is still an on-going investigation in the hands of both the US and UK Governments.