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Personal data: Meta hit by a new fine targeting WhatsApp


The group is fined 5.5 million euros for breaching the GDPR. This is on top of another €390m fine received in early January.

Meta, Facebook's parent company, was fined 5.5 million euros on Thursday by the Irish regulator for violating European data regulation (GDPR) with its WhatsApp messaging, which was limited compared to that of 390 million euros received at the beginning of January.

In this new decision, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) finds that the digital giant failed to meet its "

transparency obligations

" and relied on an incorrect legal basis "

for its processing of personal data to for service improvement and security purposes


The regulator, which acts on behalf of the EU, gives the Californian group six months to comply.

This sanction is based on similar grounds to that announced in early January, which targeted the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

But the previous decision also accused these Meta subsidiaries of failures related to the processing of personal data for targeted advertising purposes, thus threatening to weigh on the group's advertising revenues.

Meta appeals

Meta immediately announced its intention to appeal and was quick to add that the penalty did not prevent personalized advertising.

The privacy association Noyb, at the origin of these procedures launched in 2018, had accused the group of reinterpreting consent "

as a simple civil law contract

", which does not allow, in particular, to refuse this type of individualized advertisements.

The fine is much lower this time, because it does not relate to targeted advertising but also because "

the DPC had already imposed a very substantial fine of 225 million euros on WhatsApp

" for facts which related "

to the same period

," she said.

The regulator had indeed criticized WhatsApp, in September 2021, for having failed in its transparency obligations, in particular on data transfers to other companies in the group.

Meta announced that it would also appeal Thursday's decision, saying in a statement sent to AFP that "

the operation (of WhatsApp) is both technically and legally compliant

" with European regulations.

But the Noyb association judges on the contrary that the new sanction does not go far enough, explaining in a press release that "

if WhatsApp does not provide personalized advertisements, it provides + metadata + to Facebook and Instagram


The latter, if they do not betray the content of the messages, "

reveal a lot of information

" about the user's interlocutors and their habits, "

which can then be used to personalize advertising

" on the group's other platforms, affirms the 'association.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-19

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