Meta fined $277 million for leaking half a billion users

Meta Platforms Inc. was fined 265 million euros ($277 million) for failing to prevent the leak of the personal data of more than half a billion users of its Facebook service.

The Irish Data Protection Commission, Meta’s main privacy watchdog in the European Union, has fined it after an investigation found the social media company had failed to put in place strict protections. strictly according to the block’s General Data Protection Regulation.

In addition to the fine — the third largest by GDPR — the watchdog has ordered Meta’s Irish unit to ensure that its processing complies with the law, according to an emailed statement on Monday.

Irish authorities are the main watchdog for some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies that have set up EU bases in the country, including Meta. It opened the investigation following revelations that “a collated dataset of Facebook personal data” had been published on the internet.The personal information of 533 million Facebook users worldwide has emerged. back on a hacker’s website last year, including their phone numbers and email addresses.

The Data Protection Commission said the investigation looked at the tools “Facebook Search, Facebook Messenger Contact Importer, and Instagram Contact Importer in relation to processing performed by Meta” over a period of time. from May 2018 to September 2019.

The social network previously said the data was stale and the problem was found and fixed in 2019.

Meta said in a statement on Monday that “protecting people’s privacy and data security is fundamental to the way we do business” and that it has cooperated fully with the agencies. management agency.

“We made changes to our systems during the time in question, including removing the ability to steal our features in this way by using phone number. colleagues about the challenge in this industry. We are reviewing this decision carefully.”

Data watchdogs in Europe saw their powers increase overnight in May 2018, when the GDPR took effect and gave them the power to impose fines of up to 4% of revenue. a company’s year.

The biggest penalties under GDPR to date are a record €746 million fine against Inc. by the leading privacy watchdog in Luxembourg, followed by a €405 million fine against Meta’s Instagram and a €225 million fine against Meta’s WhatsApp unit. even by the Irish government.

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