On Wednesday, Irish authorities issued penalties of hundreds of millions of euros to Facebook parent firm Meta for abuses of internet privacy. The regulators also prohibited the business from coercing European users into agreeing to tailored advertisements based on their online behavior.
Meta’s business model of targeting people with advertisements based on what they do online might be severely disrupted due to the decisions made by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which resulted in the imposition of two penalties totaling 390 million euros ($414 million).
The regulator levied a punishment on Meta in the amount of 210 million euros for infractions of the stringent data privacy standards of the European Union that included Facebook, and an additional 180 million euros for infractions that involved Instagram.
Data privacy infractions have resulted in four previous penalties for the firm since 2021, bringing the total amount to more than 900 million euros. This is the most recent penalty handed out by the commission against Meta.
The judgment was made as a result of complaints that were lodged in May of 2018, when the General Data Protection Regulation, often known as GDPR, became effective throughout the 27 nations that make up the EU.
In the past, Meta depended on obtaining informed permission from consumers before processing their personal data in order to show them tailored advertisements, also known as behavioral adverts. When GDPR went into effect, the company altered the legal basis under which it processes user data by adding a clause to the terms of service for advertisements. This clause effectively forced users to agree that their data could be used and changed the legal basis under which the company processes user data. That goes against the privacy regulations of the EU.
The Irish watchdog first supported Meta, but it eventually reversed its stance when a draft decision was presented to a board of EU data protection authorities, many of whom voiced their opposition to the proposal.
In its final judgment, the Irish watchdog said that Meta “is not permitted to rely on the ‘contract’ legal foundation to distribute behavioral advertisements on Facebook and Instagram.”
Meta said in a statement that “we strongly believe our approach respects GDPR, and we’re therefore disappointed by these decisions and intend to appeal both the substance of the rulings and the fines.”
Due to the fact that Meta’s regional headquarters are located in Dublin, the Irish watchdog is Meta’s primary European data privacy regulator.
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