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Facebook agrees to pay fine over Cambridge Analytica

The fight between Facebook and the UK government’s data regulator over Cambridge Analytica has come to an end.

Facebook has agreed to pay the £500,000 ($645,000) penalty imposed by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which found the company failed to safeguard user data gathered by political data firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook will not admit to any liability under the settlement.

The regulator issued the small fine last year, but Facebook appealed the ruling. The ICO and Facebook announced Wednesday that a settlement has now been reached.

Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have faced intense scrutiny after Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users. Investigations have focused on how the data was used.

Facebook will also gain access under the settlement to documents obtained by the UK government from Cambridge Analytica, which the company said it will use to further investigate the issue.

Harry Kinmonth, Facebook’s associate general counsel, said in a statement that the company wished it “had done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015,” and that it has made “major changes.”

“Protecting people’s information and privacy is a top priority for Facebook, and we are continuing to build new controls to help people protect and manage their information,” Kinmonth said.

ICO Deputy Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said in a statement that protecting person data is of “fundamental importance” to “the preservation of a strong democracy.”

“We are pleased to hear that Facebook has taken, and will continue to take, significant steps to comply with the fundamental principles of data protection,” he added.

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