London: Ireland’s data regulator on Monday slapped a fine of 265-million-euro (USD 275 million) on Meta, the owner of Facebook, for leaking details of more than half a billion users to a hacking website.
The regulator imposed the penalty after a detailed investigation on the issue. The issue relating to leakage of personal data of Facebook users was being probed since April 2021. It was found that the data leaked to the website was part of a collated dataset of the social media platform Facebook, which contained personal details of the users. Facebook was also ordered to take a range of corrective measures, reported an international news agency.
Meta, on the other hand, claimed that it has thoroughly cooperated with the probe agency, the Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC) of Ireland, and made changes to its systems during the time in question, including removing the ability to scrape its features in this way using phone numbers.
The agency reported that Monday’s fine is the fourth that Ireland’s 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,” the report said.
The DPC also enjoys the authority to regulate technology giants like Apple, Google, Tiktok, etc, as their EU headquarters are located in Ireland. It currently has 40 inquiries open into such firms, including the 13 involving Meta.
The regulator has the power to impose fines of up to 4 % of a company’s global revenue under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) ‘One Stop Shop’ regime, which was introduced in 2018.
The DPC said mitigating factors in Monday’s decision – which had been approved by all other relevant EU regulators – included Facebook’s actions. In September the watchdog hit its Instagram subsidiary with a record fine of 405 million euros, against which Meta is contemplating to appeal.
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.