Meta fined $414 million in EU over targeted ads

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission announced on Wednesday that it has fined social media giant Meta €390 million ($414 million) for breaching EU privacy laws with its advertising practices on Facebook and Instagram.

The fine resulted from two complaints made on 25 May 2018, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. Before that, Meta made changes to Facebook and Instagram’s terms of service to ‘’legitimise its processing of users’ personal data’’, the DPC said in a statement.

‘’Having previously relied on the consent of users to the processing of their personal data in the context of the delivery of the Facebook’s and Instagram’s services (including behavioural advertising), Meta Ireland now sought to rely on the “contract” legal basis for most (but not all) of its processing operations,’’ the commission added.

In addition to the fines (€210M for Facebook and €180M for Instagram practices), the privacy regulator ruled that the social media company couldn’t rely on the “contract” legal basis to process personal data for behavioural advertising, and ordered it to make the necessary changes to its ad business within three months to comply with the GDPR.

Following the announcement, Meta said in a blog post that it plans to appeal the ruling.

‘’The debate around legal bases has been ongoing for some time and businesses have faced a lack of regulatory certainty in this area,’’ the company said. ‘’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.’’

‘’These decisions do not prevent personalised advertising on our platform,’’ Meta added. ‘’Advertisers can continue to use our platforms to reach potential customers, grow their business and create new markets.’’

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission also fined Instagram €405 million ($402 million) last September for mishandling children’s data.

Meanwhile, Meta is not the only tech giant that started the new year being fined by European regulators. On Wednesday, the French Data Protection Authority fined Apple €8 million ($8,485 million) over personalized advertisements on the App Store.

Written by Tuna Cetin

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