Facebook’s Meta fined over $400 million by EU privacy regulator for forcing users to accept targeted ads
In early December 2022, the EU privacy watchdog ruled that Meta cannot run advertising based on personal data and will need users’ consent to do so, according to a report from Reuters, citing a person familiar with the matter. Now, the hammer has dropped the social giant which already lost over 70 percent of its market value due to a bad bet on the metaverse.
The Irish Data Protection Commission fined Facebook’s parent company Meta over $400 million Wednesday after finding its Facebook and Instagram services breached the EU privacy rules. Zuckerberg’s founded company was slapped on Wednesday with a pair of fines totaling more than $400 million after the Irish privacy regulator concluded Meta’s advertising and data handling practices were in breach of EU privacy laws.
Announcing the conclusion of the long-year inquiries into the company’s privacy practices, the Irish Data Protection Commission said in a statement Wednesday:
“The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has today announced the conclusion of two inquiries into the data processing operations of Meta Platforms Ireland Limited (“Meta Ireland”) in connection with the delivery of its Facebook and Instagram services. (Meta Ireland was previously known as Facebook Ireland Limited).”
The Irish privacy regulator said that Meta should be ordered to pay two fines — one, a 210 million euro ($222.5 million) fine over violations of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, and the second, a 180 million euro fine related to breaches of the same law by Instagram.
The fines mark the end of two lengthy investigations into Meta by the Irish regulator. DPC’s investigations into Meta started two years ago on May 25, 2018, the day same the EU’s GDPR came into effect. DPC, which is the lead regulatory authority for Meta and several other U.S. tech giants, had been criticized over delays in the process. The DPC also gave Meta three months to bring its data processing operations into compliance, or else face additional fines.
“Meta Ireland has also been directed to bring its data processing operations into compliance within a period of 3 months.”
The news comes a year after Apple rolled out the privacy feature that prevents Facebook from tracking you without your consent. A large chunk of Meta’s revenue comes from advertising. Last year, Meta said that automatically opting users out of its app tracking could cost the company 3% of its annual ad revenue.
This is not the first time Meta got into trouble with privacy regulators around the world. In August, Mata agreed to pay $37.5 million for violating users’ privacy and tracking their movements through smartphones without their permission. As part of the settlement reached in San Francisco federal court, Meta agreed to pay $37.5 million to settle the lawsuit that began about four years ago. However, Meta denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle the case.
In April last year, Meta revealed 500,000 fewer daily log-ins and declining profits. Zuckerberg said Facebook users’ decline was partly due to the boom in popularity of the competitor platform TikTok. That’s not all. Meta also blamed the woes on a combination of other factors, including privacy changes to Apple’s iOS and economic challenges, for Wednesday’s decline in stock prices.
Meanwhile, App said that its new App Tracking Transparency “requires all apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising, or sharing their data with data brokers.” Apple said that apps can prompt users for permission, and in Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track so they can make changes to their choice at any time.