Meta received a fine of roughly $400 million (€403 million) for its negligence to safeguard kids’ privacy on Instagram. According to the Irish regulators, it breached the EU data protection rules.
Violation of EU Data Protection Rules Lead to Meta’s Significant Fine
The Data Protection Commission (DPC) penalises Meta for breaching European Union data protection rules. This was the latest action of the European authorities and the US regarding child protection online. According to the Irish watchdog, Meta failed to comply with the data privacy laws in dealing with children’s data on Instagram. Both the DPC and the US authorities are investigating what kind of information companies collect and share about young people online.
On September 2, the DPC imposed Meta a fine for its failure to follow the rules. This could be one of the most significant fines to date under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It’s a four-year-old data privacy law, which receives disapproval due to its weak implementation.
Meta disputed the decision and consider filing an appeal. It argued that the enquiry contemplated previous settings, which were already updated over a year ago. Moreover, the company said that it added a few more features to optimise the security of young online users.
“Anyone under 18 automatically has their account set to private when they join Instagram, so only people they know can see what they post, and adults can’t message teens who don’t follow them,” said Meta in an emailed statement.
Lawmakers try to better cushion children’s data created on online video games, various social media platforms, and other internet services. In California, legislators enacted a law last week that requires several online services to enhance children’s protection. Last year, Britain established a similar law.
European policymakers provide children’s data with special security. In 2020, DPC started a crackdown on Instagram for creating children’s accounts who are 13 to 17 years old which are generally set to public by default. Moreover, the famous social media platform allowed teenagers to create profiles with business accounts. Most of these teens aspire to become influencers, making their email addresses and phone numbers public.
Instagram Under Investigation
Both European and American watchdogs turn their spotlight on Meta because of the way it treats children’s data. The scrutiny also includes how its endorsement process impacts body image, as well as, self-esteem. US President Joe Biden stipulated tougher child protection on social media.
Ireland is at the core of countless battles linked to Meta’s data collection procedures. Since the company uses Ireland as its European headquarters, it’s responsible for complying with the GDPR rules. It must limit how it gathers and share data of its users.
“While we’ve engaged fully with the DPC throughout their inquiry, we disagree with how this fine was calculated and intend to appeal it. We’re continuing to carefully review the rest of the decision,” a Meta spokesperson added.
Currently, the said fine is the second largest issued to a technology firm under GDPR data protection rules. In July 2021, Amazon received the biggest fine of $887 million for a data breach.
Meta is beginning to accumulate DPC penances. In March of this year, the advisory body penalised the tech company €17 million ($16.9 million) for its failure to protect users’ data from breaches.
Last year of September, it also fined WhatsApp, $266 million for not being sufficiently honest with users about how it shares their data with parent company, Meta.
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