UK watchdog: Zuckerberg can show he's serious about privacy by dropping appeal of fine

The top British data watchdog said Monday that Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles Webb: Big Tech won't change; the tech sector can Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Democrats press FTC to resolve data privacy 'crisis' MORE can show he's serious about his call for tougher privacy regulations by dropping his company’s appeal of a fine over its handling of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“In light of Mark Zuckerberg’s statements over the weekend about the need for increased regulation across four areas, including privacy, I expect Facebook to review their current appeal against the [Information Commissioner’s Office's] £500,000 fine — the maximum available under the old rules —  for contravening UK privacy laws,” the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement after Zuckerberg wrote in The Washington Post on Saturday that Facebook welcomed greater oversight.

Denham issued the fine against Facebook last year, alleging that the social network had for years failed to protect users’ information. The relatively modest $560,000 fine — infinitesimal compared with the $55.8 billion in revenue the company brought in last year — was the maximum Denham’s office could level for the privacy violations.

Facebook later vowed to appeal the penalty.

The company did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

In Zuckerberg’s column over the weekend, he called on Congress to follow Europe’s lead in establishing a uniform privacy law that sets standards for the industry to follow.

“It should protect your right to choose how your information is used — while enabling companies to use information for safety purposes and to provide services,” he wrote. “And it should establish a way to hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when we make mistakes.”