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UK data watchdog investigating 30 companies, including Facebook

sheryl sandberg

The UK data watchdog has said it is investigating 30 organisations, including Facebook, as part of its investigation into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties and social media companies.

In a statement released on Thursday, Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, 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.”

She then went on to add that Facebook was co-operating with the ICO and although she was pleased with the changes being made, “it is too early to say whether they are sufficient under the law”.

“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,” she continued.

“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.”

The news comes after Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was seemingly absent for five days in the wake of the scandal, took journalists’ questions for well over an hour during a press conference this week.

It also follows on from various interviews given to media outlets by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who has been keeping a low profile in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.

Both Zuckerberg and Sandberg have expressed their regret about what happened and said they are keen to re-build the trust users may have lost as a result of debacle.