Facebook’s Meta fined a record $1.3 billion for transferring EU users’ data to the US
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has received a historic fine of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from the European Union privacy regulator. This decision was made by the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) in Ireland, giving Meta a five-month deadline to cease transferring user data to the United States.
The latest fine was imposed due to Meta’s continued data transfers, even after a 2020 European Court ruling invalidated an EU-U.S. data transfer agreement, Reuters reported. This penalty surpasses the previous highest privacy fine in the EU, which was 746 million euros issued to Amazon.com by Luxembourg in 2021.
The news comes just four months after the Irish Data Protection Commission fined Meta over $400 million for forcing users to accept targeted ads. The regular found that 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.
The conflict surrounding the storage of Facebook’s data by Meta began ten years ago when Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy advocate, filed a legal challenge. The concern was centered around the risk of U.S. surveillance following revelations by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency.
In a statement, Meta said that it will appeal the ruling, including the “unjustified and unnecessary fine that “sets a dangerous precedent for countless other companies.” It will also seek a stay of the suspension orders through the courts.
“Without the ability to transfer data across borders, the internet risks being carved up into national and regional silos,” Meta said.
The DPC said in March that EU and U.S. officials hoped that the new data protection framework – agreed by Brussels and Washington in March 2022 – may be ready by July.
The news also 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.