23:54 GMT28 November 2020
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    Facebook is facing the maximum fine over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office imposed a fine on the media giant amounting to almost $700,000. A probe concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard information. Radio Sputnik discussed this with Petri Krohn, a Finnish political analyst.

    Sputnik: The fine appears to be rather tiny given the company’s yearly revenues. What are the chances that more punitive measures will follow?

    Petri Krohn: Actually, I don’t quite understand how the British authorities can levy a fine on an American company collecting data about American holders. European privacy protection laws are very strict compared to America’s. What is forbidden is selling profile information and combining profile data and all of this is quite legal in the United States. But now the European fines for violating data protection laws are quite huge and most likely there will be fines on Facebook or other companies in the future.

    Sputnik: Do you believe that it’s fair then, this decision? Is it appropriate to punish Facebook? If not, who’s to blame for this scandal? I suppose they need to take responsibility themselves but are there other parties that should be blamed then?

    Petri Krohn: Actually, I don’t think Facebook broke any American laws or its rules. What people are doing, they’re voluntarily giving their profile information, their public lives to hundreds of thousands of companies. This data seems to be legally obtained. What happens and what the scandal is about is that people are shocked to see how well Cambridge Analytica is able to use the data. They’re using it, the public lives, as a surrogate data set for personality tests. So they have this model, the Big Five personality traits, which they can deduce from public data and then use it for face-to-face contacts in online advertising in political campaigns. And this is what has shocked the American people, how well the campaigners can see into their personality.

    Sputnik: How much does this situation affect the media giant’s image, if at all? Could it fully restore public trust?

    Petri Krohn: I don’t think that people will be abandoning Facebook because of this. One of the central issues is the limitations on what kind of speech can be used online and I’ve seen very many users abandoning Facebook and moving to other social media platforms because they think that Facebook is nowadays too restrictive on their speech.

    Sputnik: Is more regulation needed for these companies and if there is, how is that policed? It’s a very difficult subject matter and even more difficult to police I suppose. Do you think the pressure on Facebook is really relative in your view? What is the future of Facebook moving forward?

    Petri Krohn: Social media is overtaking the mainstream media as the main source of information for most people. The European system is panicking because their mainstream media no longer has control over people’s opinions. So Facebook is facing huge pressures from the US Senate, from the traditional political parties. Actually, I don’t know how they will survive the pressure, I think they should stand on their own and not be taken across by this pressure. I think they should be protecting free speech and doing their own stuff.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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