Meta has been fined 5.5 million euros ($5.95 million) for breaches of EU data protection regulations by its instant messaging platform WhatsApp, on Thursday by Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC).
Recall that Meta’s other main platforms, Instagram and Facebook, were slammed with a 390 million euro fine for flouting the same EU rules just 2 weeks ago.
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) found the group acted “in breach of its obligations about transparency,” and told WhatsApp to reassess how it uses personal data for service improvements, following a similar order that was given to Facebook and Instagram, which stated that Meta must reassess the legal basis upon which it targets advertising through the use of personal data.
Through a spokesperson, meta announced its decision to appeal, stating that it strongly believed that the way its service operates is both technically and legally compliant.
The Irish watchdog, which is the lead EU regulator for many of the world’s top technology companies, said its more recent fine was considerably less because of a 225 million euro fine imposed on WhatsApp for “breaches of this and other transparency obligations over the same period”. Thursday’s Whatsapp fine was also far lower because it did not relate to targeted advertising.
The DPC directed WhatsApp to bring its processing operations into compliance within six months.
Past fines incurred by Meta
The DPC fined Meta 405 million euros in September 2021 for failures in handling the data of minors, and 265 million euros in November for not sufficiently protecting users’ data.
In October 2021, a Vienna-based privacy group NOYB brought three complaints against Meta accusing the social media giant of reinterpreting consent as a civil law contract, which stopped users from refusing targeted advertising.
The Irish authority validated the legal basis used by the group and initiated a fine of up to 36 million euros for Facebook and up to 23 million euros for Instagram over their lack of transparency.
The DPC has fined Meta a total of 1.3 billion euros to date and has ten other inquiries open into its services.