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Data protection violations on Facebook and Instagram: Meta is to pay a fine of 390 million euros


Because the social media group is said to have used the user's personal data for advertising in an inadmissible manner, data protection officials are imposing a severe penalty. The impact on Meta's business could be huge.

Facebook logo at the European headquarters in Ireland: The company is threatened with new trouble

Photo: Christoph Dernbach/dpa

The Irish data protection authority has again imposed fines on the social media group Meta, this time totaling 390 million euros.

The case concerned the fact that the group, by means of its terms and conditions, required the users of its platforms Facebook and Instagram to consent to the use of personal data for advertising purposes.

However, this procedure was not compatible with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as the responsible authority announced on Wednesday.

The new sentence is part of a whole series of procedures.

With the current fine, the Facebook group has to pay a total of 1.1 billion euros to the Irish state.

Further investigations are pending.

The Irish authorities had initially only wanted to impose a milder sentence.

However, they were overruled by the European Data Protection Board.

Facebook critic celebrates success

One of the decisive factors in the current proceedings was a complaint by the NOYB organization of the Austrian data protection activist Max Schrems, which he lodged when the GDPR came into force in 2018.

Schrems accuses the IT group of having circumvented European laws by forcing users to accept the conditions if they want to continue using the platform.

"We are not aware of any other company that has tried to ignore the General Data Protection Regulation in such an arrogant manner," explains Schrems in a first statement.

While the fines are hurting Meta, especially given its falling share price, the long-term consequences for the group could be far more serious.

According to Schrems' interpretation, the group should now allow its users to deactivate personalized advertising for their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

This form of ads is the core of the group's business model.

Meta could continue to display advertising based on general criteria such as a user's location.

But advertisers pay significantly less money for this.

Meta herself sees the situation differently.

According to a first statement by the company, personalized advertising is still possible on Facebook and Instagram – only the form and the legal basis of the consent must be newly regulated: »Advertisers can continue to use our platforms to reach potential customers, their business to expand and open up new markets.«

Open dispute among privacy advocates

The authorities have not yet had the last word on the matter either.

In the official statement, the Irish authority is dissatisfied with the interference of colleagues from other countries: the data protection committee has exceeded its powers.

Therefore, one is considering going to the European Court of Justice to reverse the decision again and to clarify the balance of power between the different supervisory authorities.

"It is not up to the European Data Protection Committee to instruct an authority to carry out open-ended and speculative investigations," the Irish justify their dissatisfaction.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-01-04

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