Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, was fined by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) for a total of $414 million for violating EU privacy laws.
According to DPC, Meta illegally required users to agree to personalized and targeted advertising.
This decision followed two accusations in 2018 that Meta had violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
GDPR is a set of rules that help protect the personal data of EU citizens. This allows EU citizens better control over how companies receive, use and share their personal information. In addition, GDPR prohibits companies from storing information about customers without their consent.
The Regulation stresses the importance of strict confidentiality rules and fines that enterprises may incur if they do not comply with them.
What did Meta say she did wrong?
DPC claims that in order for customers to continue using their accounts, Meta required them to approve the terms of service, which actually encouraged them to sign new terms and conditions allowing their data to be used for personalized advertising.
In addition, DPC reports that the language used in the Terms of Service was unclear and did not properly inform users of how their data was used.
Meta disagrees with the decision In response to the DPC decision, Meta announced plans to appeal the decision, stating that it believed that its approach to data protection was consistent with GDPR.
The company claims that personalized advertising is a common aspect of social media and that Facebook and Instagram are essentially personalized.
In a blog post, Meta states:
Facebook and Instagram are essentially personalized, and we believe that providing each user with their own unique experience, including the advertising they see, is a necessary and integral part of this service. To date, we have relied on a legal basis called «Contractual Necessity» to show people behavioral advertising based on their actions on our platforms, taking into account their security and privacy settings. It would be very unusual if the social network service was not adapted for the individual user».