Ireland just fined Instagram owner Meta $400 million for teen privacy violations
Ireland’s data privacy regulation agency will reportedly issue Meta a $400 million fine, for mishandling Instagram user data belonging to minors. The Meta company says it will appeal the fine from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission. The privacy law was implemented in 2018 and gives special protection to children’s data linked to social media accounts, video games, and other internet sites.
Instagram and Facebook parent company Meta was slapped with a fine for exposing the personal data of minors. As social media platforms continue to integrate themselves into our world’s digital infrastructure, fines like these and bodies like the Irish Data Protection Committee are crucial to ensure that these platforms remain on their best behavior. The current fine is the third and the biggest one yet imposed on Meta after it was fined roughly $223 million for violations on WhatsApp and nearly $17 million for breaches on Facebook.
Meta fined $400 million for teen privacy violations:
Meta is facing a $400 million fine from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission for failing to safeguard children’s information on Instagram. Meta had since updated its privacy settings and released many new features to help keep teens safe and their information private. The development comes as Meta and other social media networks are under increasing scrutiny, especially following an explosive investigation.
The DPC also found the platform had operated a user registration system whereby the accounts of 13-to-17-year-old users were set to public by default. Anyone under 18 automatically has their account set to private when they join Instagram, so only people they know can see what they post, and adults can’t message teens who don’t follow them. The fine is more specifically in response to Instagram violating the General Data Protection Regulation with their handling of business accounts.
The Irish Data Protection Commission said Instagram made the accounts of teenagers public by default and displayed the email and phone numbers of teenage users, potentially allowing adults online to contact them. This inquiry focused on old settings that we updated over a year ago, and we’ve since released many new features to help keep teens safe and their information private. The DPC issued a €17 million fine against Meta for noncompliance with GDPR following a series of 12 data breaches.
The Data Protection Commission confirmed the penalty after a two-year investigation into potential breaches of the European Union’s general data protection regulation. The Data Protection Commission didn’t offer further details regarding the nature of the fine, but it was related to Meta violating the General Data Protection Regulation. The spokesperson added that Meta disagrees with how the fine was calculated and is reviewing the rest of the commission’s decision.