After finding out that Meta had forced users of Instagram and Facebook to agree to the processing of their personal data for targeted advertising, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), has sanctioned Meta with a fine totaling EUR390 Million.
This decision is the result of two investigations into Meta’s data processing operations. These were triggered by complaints made by noyb, a non-profit organization representing users in Austria and Belgium on May 25, 2018. That was the date that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), data privacy and security laws came into effect.
Meta Ireland, an Irish data watchdog stated that it had previously relied upon the consent of users for the processing of personal data within the context of delivery of Instagram’s and Facebook’s services. This included behavioural advertising.
To continue accessing the Instagram and Facebook services after the GDPR was implemented, all existing users (and those who have just become members) were required to accept the new Terms of Service. Users could not access the services if they declined.
Meta Ireland was fined EUR210million by the DPC for violating GDPR in relation to its Facebook service, and EUR180million for violation related to Instagram services.
Meta was also required by the DPC to comply with the GDPR regulations in the coming three months. This would likely mean that Meta could no longer process users’ personal data for targeted advertising, unless they consent to it.
Meta must obtain “opt-in consent” for personalized advertising and provide users with an “yes/no” option. A third case, which is parallel to the one on WhatsApp, will be decided in mid-January. (3)
Meta denies the findings of DPC and appeals against the fines
Meta published today, however, a response to DPC’s EUR390m fine announcement. It claimed that it respects GDPR, and blamed the decision for a lack of regulatory clarity.
It stated that the company would appeal the fines, and assured users and businesses that personalized ads on Meta’s platform across the EU would continue to be available to them.
Meta that “We believe strongly in our approach to GDPR and are therefore disappointed by these rulings. We intend to appeal both their substance and the fines.”
These decisions don’t stop personalized advertising on our platforms. Advertisers have the option to continue using our platforms to reach new customers and grow their businesses.
“Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are intrinsically personal. We believe providing every user with their unique experience — including ads – is an essential and necessary part of the service.”
Meta (or $2275.5M) fine from the Irish data watchdog. This was after were leaked to a hacker forum.