Meta Fined $265M By Irish Data Protection Commission

The social media space has never been 100% safe, and it has always been the responsibility of social media platforms to safeguard the integrity and privacy of their clients, which Meta has been found wanting in recent times. 

The Ireland Data Protection Commission (DPC) has billed the parent company of Facebook 265 million dollars after details of more than 500 million Facebook users were leaked online, thus breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations. 

The fine given by the Irish data regulators bring fines against Meta to a total of more than 900 million dollars on four different occasions over the past year. In September, the same regulator fined the company roughly 400 million dollars for its mistreatment of children’s data on Instagram, and in October, they also fined Meta 235 million dollars for violations relating to messaging in WhatsApp. All fines were for breaking the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) laws. 

The commission levied fines against the social media giant for failing to safeguard the personal data of many users across several of their platforms( WhatsApp , Instagram, Facebook), which is a breach of confidentiality.

The recent fines resulted from an investigation initiated by the European regulator in April last year because of the leak that occurred in 2019. The collated dataset of Facebook personal data was made available without security on the internet and included personal information such as phone numbers, dates of birth, email addresses, gender, location, marital status, and other profile details. 

Meta admitted that the information was leaked but also stressed that the information was “old data” hacked by malicious hackers who took advantage of a hacking method known as “phone number enumeration” to scrape users’ public profiles, done by using a contract to upload a list of phone numbers and uncover matches connected to a Facebook account. 

After the complaint was filed, Meta strengthened its bug bounty program by rewarding valid reports of scraping vulnerabilities and datasets across the company’s platform. Apart from the monetary fine the commission imposed on the tech giant, they also ordered Meta’s Irish to make its processing comply with the European Union’s data laws and policies.

This recent lawsuit is testing the accountability and user acceptance of the social media giant. Do you still trust Meta with your sensitive personal information as a user? 

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Photo by Freepik

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