Facebook Hit with Massive Fine by Irish Regulator for Privacy Breach


In a significant blow to social media giant Facebook, Ireland’s data privacy regulator imposed a staggering €1.2 billion fine on the company. This fine, the largest GDPR fine ever, is imposed for Meta’s transfers of personal data to the U.S. on the basis of standard contractual clauses (SCCs) since 16 July 2020.

This on top of an earlier fine of €265 million as a result of an investigation starting last year, following the discovery of personal data scraped from Facebook and published online between May 2018 and September 2019.

13 privacy inquiries into Meta

These are not the first fines the DPC issued against Meta as its lead privacy regulator in the EU. In addition to the fines, there are 13 other ongoing inquiries into the social media group. The DPC is regulating other tech giants such as Apple, Google, Twitter, and TikTok due to their EU headquarters’ locations in Ireland. Presently, the DPC has 40 ongoing inquiries into various firms, including the 13 involving Meta.

Under the “One Stop Shop” regime introduced by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, the DPC holds the authority to impose fines of up to 4% of a company’s global revenue. All relevant EU regulators approved Monday’s decision. Nevertheless, Meta stated that it will review the latest fine and consider its options. Besides, Meta plans to appeal a record fine of €405 million imposed on its subsidiary, Instagram, by the DPC in last September.

The DPC’s decision to impose this substantial fine demonstrates its commitment to ensuring data privacy and holding companies accountable. In an interview with Irish national broadcaster RTE, Helen Dixon, the Data Privacy Commissioner, emphasized that the DPC will persist in its efforts until behavioral changes occur.

As privacy concerns continue to gain prominence, this fine serves as a stark reminder to tech companies that they must prioritize safeguarding user data and adhering to stringent privacy regulations. Facebook and other tech giants are under increasing scrutiny, and it is imperative for them to proactively address privacy issues to regain user trust. The repercussions of this fine will undoubtedly reverberate throughout the tech industry and potentially reshape the future landscape of data privacy regulations.

Founder and CEO of Icecat NV. Investor. Ph.D.

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