Oscar Williams-Grut, Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
The head of artificial intelligence (AI) at one of the world’s largest asset managers has said Facebook’s (FB) recent record on user data is a “catastrophe.”
Charles Radclyffe, the head of AI at Fidelity Asset Management appeared on a panel discussing “Ethics, privacy, and independence in the digital age” at the Fintech Talents conference in London on Tuesday (30 October).
Responding to the moderator bringing up Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Radclyffe said: “Facebook, you mention Cambridge Analytica was an overstepping the mark, I mean I was astonished how they managed to downplay this. They potentially, allegedly had a quite a significant impact on two major referendums that could change the face of the planet, at least in the next 10 to 20 years.”
Whistleblower Christopher Wylie claims the Trump campaign was able to harvest data on millions of Facebook users data in the run up to the 2016 US election without their knowledge, using a historic loophole in Facebook’s terms of service. There have been similar allegations about these types of practices being used in Britain’s 2016 Brexit referendum.
Radclyffe said: “It’s more than an overstepping of the mark, it’s an absolute catastrophe, the fact that an unregulated organisation has had that reach and no one in the political system seems to have been able to prevent that from occurring.”
Radclyffe backed calls for stricter regulations and consequences for tech firms when it comes to data breaches, similar to those faced by banks. Facebook last month disclosed more data breaches that affected tens of millions of users.
Read more on Yahoo! Finance.