Facebook owner Meta fined for data breach – Copyright AFP Justin TALLIS
Ireland’s data regulator slapped Facebook owner Meta with a €265 million ($275 million) fine on Monday after details of more than half a billion users were leaked on a hacking website.
The Data Protection Commission (DPC) said it had made the decision following a “comprehensive investigative process, including cooperation with all other data protection supervisory authorities within the EU.”
Meta’s European operations are based in Dublin, along with other major global tech companies, including Google, Apple and Twitter.
As a result, Ireland’s data protection agency is the main regulator responsible for holding them accountable.
The watchdog found that the social media giant led by Mark Zuckerberg had breached two articles of EU data protection laws.
In addition to the fine, the DPC said it had “imposed a reprimand and order” requiring Facebook’s owner to “comply with its prosecution by taking a series of specific remedial actions within a specified timeframe.”
There was no immediate reaction to Meta’s fine.
The Irish watchdog launched its investigation in April 2021 to determine whether the EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) charter on data rights and relevant Irish law had been breached.
Under the GDPR, which came into effect in 2018, social media users have a broader range of rights related to their data.
Facebook previously said data was “scraped” from the site by hackers in 2019, who took advantage of a feature designed to help people easily find friends using contact lists.
The fine follows a landmark decision by the Irish watchdog to fine Meta a record €405m in September after its Instagram platform was found to have breached rules on handling data from children.
In recent weeks, the European Union has voiced fears over a drop in data privacy standards and content moderation amid widespread job losses in the tech sector.
Meta said earlier this month that it planned to lay off more than 11,000 employees amid a publicity slump.
The microblogging platform Twitter, which also has its European headquarters in Dublin, has received similar criticism following its acquisition by Elon Musk.
Tech entrepreneur Musk cut about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, including many employees tasked with fighting misinformation, when he bought the company.