The owner of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook has been fined a record €1.2bn (£1.04bn) by Ireland’s data protection regulator.
This is the biggest fine ever for violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Meta faced the fine for transferring EU citizens’ data to the US for processing, despite a 2020 verdict from the EU’s highest court saying the data was not sufficiently protected against American spy agencies.
Facebook was ordered to end the practice and given at least five months to comply. Instagram and WhatsApp are not subject to the order.
The issue has been going on for a decade after privacy activist Max Schrems filed a lawsuit in 2013 against Facebook, as the company was called at the time.
The Data Protection Commission (DPC) in Ireland has jurisdiction over Meta, effectively acting as the EU’s privacy regulator, as Meta’s European headquarters are in Dublin.
Meta said he would appeal the decision and there would be no disruption in service. He said the fine was “unjustified and unnecessary” and is asking for a stay in court.
Before Monday’s fine, the biggest penalty imposed by EU regulators was 746 million euros on Amazon in 2021.
A new pact is being developed between the EU and the US to facilitate safe and legal data sharing. Meta said in April that it expects the pact to be completed before it is forced to end the current, illegal data transfer.
Even if the arrangement is not in place, the services will continue to operate, Meta said. Previously, he said a ban could halt services in Europe.
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