Meta, a technology company based in Ireland, has been fined a staggering €390 million ($414 million) by Irish regulators for violating privacy laws.
According to the regulators, Meta Platforms Ireland, a subsidiary of Meta, was found to have been “forcing” users to give consent to the processing of their personal data for behavioural advertising and other personalised services in connection with Facebook and Instagram’s services.
The fine comes after the conclusion of two inquiries into Meta’s data processing operations, which found the company had breached the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR is a set of laws that were introduced in 2018 to protect the personal data of individuals within the European Union (EU).
The fine, which was issued by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), is one of the largest ever issued under the GDPR. It is also one of the first major fines to be issued by the DPC since it began enforcing the GDPR in 2018.
In a statement, the DPC said that Meta had “systematically and extensively” violated the GDPR by failing to obtain “freely given, specific, informed and explicit consent” from users before processing their personal data. The DPC also found that Meta had failed to provide users with clear and concise information about how their data would be processed.
The fine is a major blow to Meta, which has previously been lauded for its innovative technology solutions. The company has not yet commented on the fine or indicated whether it plans to appeal the decision.
The fine serves as a warning to other technology companies operating in the EU that they must adhere to the strict privacy laws put in place to protect the personal data of their users. It also highlights the importance of obtaining consent from users before collecting and processing their data.
In recent years, there has been growing concern about the handling of personal data by technology companies, particularly in relation to the use of data for targeted advertising. The Meta fine serves as a reminder that companies that fail to respect the privacy of their users will face serious consequences.
It remains to be seen how the fine will impact Meta and its operations in the long term. However, it is clear that the company will need to make significant changes to its data processing practices in order to comply with the GDPR and avoid future fines.