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Meta Fined €1.2 Billion In Landmark EU Ruling

Meta, the social media giant has been fined a record-breaking €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) by the Data Protection Commission of Ireland. It is instructed to cease transferring data collected from Facebook users in Europe to the United States. The ruling marks a major violation of European Union data protection regulations.

Meta Fined For Privacy Violation

The penalty, announced by the Irish regulator, stems from Meta’s failure to comply with a 2020 decision by the European Union’s highest court. The court had determined that data transferred from Europe to the United States did not receive adequate protection against American intelligence agencies’ surveillance.

While the ruling specifically targets Facebook, it does not apply to other platforms owned by Meta, such as Instagram and WhatsApp. Meta has stated its intention to appeal the decision and assured users that there will be no immediate disruption to Facebook’s services within the European Union.

Max Schrems, a privacy activist who initiated the legal action against Facebook, commented on the ruling, stating,

He proposed the concept of a “federated social network” where most personal data would remain within the European Union.

Response To The Ruling

Meta responded to the decision by claiming that it was unfairly targeted for data-sharing practices employed by numerous companies. Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs, and Jennifer Newstead, the Chief Legal Officer, expressed their concern over potential limitations on data transfers across borders, NY Times reported.

The decision comes almost exactly on the five-year anniversary of G.D.P.R. The board insisted on the €1.2 billion fine and forcing Meta to address past data collected about users, which could include deletion.

Read EU Warning Against Meta..

This social giant has been a frequent target of regulators under the G.D.P.R. In January, the company was fined €390 million for forcing users to accept personalized ads as a condition of using Facebook. In November, it was fined another €265 million for a data leak.