Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has been hit with a €1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion dollar) fine for violating European Union privacy policies by transferring personal data from European users to the U.S. The ruling has given Meta five months to cease sending data across borders.
The fine, announced by the Irish Data Protection Commission on Monday, is the highest ever imposed by the General Data Protection Regulation (a set of guidelines for protecting personal data in the EU).
“Facebook has millions of users in Europe, so the volume of personal data transferred is massive,” said Andrea Jelinek, European Data Protection Board chair, in a statement. “The unprecedented fine is a strong signal to [organizations] that serious infringements have far-reaching consequences.”
The ruling only applies to Facebook and not Meta’s other social media platforms, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
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In a blog post regarding the ruling and subsequent fine, Meta said that it intends to appeal the ruling, including the “unjustified and unnecessary fine.” The company argues that there is a discrepancy between U.S. regulation regarding personal data and European privacy rules — which it expects to be resolved “in the summer” as policymakers in the EU and U.S. work on a new agreement that allows for a “free flow” of transatlantic data.
“The ability for data to be transferred across borders is fundamental to how the global open internet works,” Meta wrote in the post. “Without the ability to transfer data across borders, the internet risks being carved up into national and regional silos.”
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