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Facebook hit with vast fine as owner Meta accused of violating people’s privacy

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook owner Meta has now been fined almost a billion euros by the Irish data privacy regulator, after its latest significant punishment.

The regulator hit Facebook with a 265 million euro ($277 million) fine on social media giant Facebook on Monday, after a series of data protection problems.

The penalty resulted from an investigation, started in April 2021, related to the discovery of a collated dataset of Facebook personal data that had been made available online. Facebook was also ordered to make a range of corrective measures.

The investigation looked at a range of tools owned by Meta: Facebook’s search, and the contact importer tool on both Facebook and Instagram. The problems happened between May 2018 and September 2019, the regulator said.

Monday’s fine is the fourth Ireland‘s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC) has levied against one of Meta‘s companies. It is Meta‘s lead privacy regulator within the European Union, and has 13 more inquiries into the social media group outstanding.

In September the watchdog hit its Instagram subsidiary with a record fine of 405 million euros, which Meta plans to appeal.

The DPC regulates Apple, Google, Tiktok and other technology giants due to the location of their EU headquarters in Ireland. It currently has 40 inquiries open into such firms, including the 13 involving Meta.

The Irish regulator said in a statement that other relevant EU regulators agreed with the decision issued on Monday after it shared a draft ruling with them last month under the bloc’s “one-stop shop” system of regulating large multinationals.

Additional reporting by Reuters