Meta hit with record fine of $1.3 billion for transferring European user data to US

This is the largest ever levied under Europe’s signature data privacy law


The European Union slapped Meta with a record $1.3 billion privacy fine Monday and ordered it to stop transferring user data across the Atlantic, the latest salvo in a decade-long case sparked by U.S. cyber snooping fears.

The penalty fine of 1.2 billion euros from Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) is the biggest since the EU's strict data privacy regime took effect five years ago, surpassing Amazon's 746 million euro penalty in 2021 for data protection violations.

Meta Ireland's transfer of personal data from the EU to the US has been under investigation by the DPC since 2020. The fine levied by the DPC is the largest ever levied under Europe’s signature data privacy law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

DPC's investigation found that Meta failed to "address the risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms of data subjects" that were identified in a previous ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). 

Meta’s infringement is “very serious since it concerns transfers that are systematic, repetitive and continuous,” Andrea Jelinek, chair of the European Data Protection Board told CNN.

“Facebook has millions of users in Europe, so the volume of personal data transferred is massive. The unprecedented fine is a strong signal to organizations that serious infringements have far-reaching consequences,” she added.

Meta, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram said it was "disappointed to have been singled out" and the ruling was "flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless other companies". Meta also said that it would appeal the ruling.

-- With PTI inputs

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines