Ireland's DPC fined Meta's Facebook and Instagram €390 million

05/01/2023 | Data Protection Commission

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) in Ireland has adopted final decisions on its two long-running investigations into Facebook and Instagram, fining Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd (Meta) a combined total of €390 million. Furthermore, the enforcement action has potentially far-reaching implications that could lead to an upheaval of Meta's targeted advertising model within the EU. In a statement, the DPC confirmed that Meta's legal basis for processing user data in order to deliver targeted advertising is invalid and gave the company three months to bring its data processing operations into compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The IAPP has published an article with the details and initial reactions. The move was expected following the last month's announcement from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) that it had adopted three binding decisions against Meta under its dispute resolution mechanism contained in Article 65 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Austrian privacy campaign group NOYB, who filed the original complaint in May 2018, released a statement saying: "This is a huge blow to Meta's profits in the EU. People now need to be asked if they want their data to be used for ads or not. They must have a 'yes or no' option and can change their mind at any time. The decision also ensures a level playing field with other advertisers that also need to get opt-in consent."

UPDATE: 050123 - An article in Infosecurity Magazine reports Meta has confirmed it will appeal the decision. Meanwhile, Pinsent Masons reports on the DPC's comment that it could take legal action against the EDPB after it accused the regulator of exceeding its powers to influence an investigation into a major social media provider. 

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