Dublin After the publication of personal data of up to 533 million Facebook users, the parent company Meta has to pay a fine of 265 million euros in Ireland. The penalties for Meta in the EU state add up to 910 million euros in the past 14 months.
Ireland’s data protection regulator DPC said on Monday it had completed its investigation, which it began in April 2021 after names, phone numbers and email addresses were published on a hackers’ forum. The data protection authorities of the other EU members had cooperated with the Irish authority and agreed with their decision.
Facebook said it would review the verdict. Criminals would have skimmed (scraped) the publicly available data before September 2019 and then put it online on platforms. However, Facebook’s systems were not hacked.
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It is the fourth time since September 2021 that the Irish Authority has imposed a heavy fine on Meta. At that time, the subsidiary WhatsApp had to pay 225 million euros for violations of data protection rules. In March 2022, the parent company was also fined 17 million euros for data protection violations. In September, the DPC fined Instagram €405 million for gross violations of children’s privacy rules.
Meta has appealed both the Instagram and WhatsApp decisions. Now judges have to decide. A ruling is considered to set a precedent for future investigations into data breaches. International tech groups like Meta are a major employer in Ireland. After the network giant decided to cut numerous jobs worldwide, hundreds of jobs are at risk there.
More: High-tech recession threatens Ireland’s business model.