Meta Fined Big, Faces Data Transfer Suspension In EU 

The European Union has imposed a staggering $1.3 billion fine on Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and ordered the company to cease transferring user data to the United States due to concerns over privacy. 

The decision, disclosed by the Data Protection Commission of Ireland, affects only Facebook and not its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp, which are also owned by Meta. In accordance with the order, the company might be forced to delete data collected about users in EU countries.

The decision to impose the fine and suspend data transfers was adopted by the European Data Protection Board last month, signaling a firm stance on data protection and privacy. The authorities claim that Meta violated a statute that requires specific safeguards for international data transfers.

While Meta has been given a grace period of at least five months to comply with the order, the company has stated that there will be no immediate disruption to Facebook’s services within the European Union. 

The company also plans to appeal the decision and the accompanying fine. In a statement released by Meta executives, they called for American and European regulators to address the “fundamental conflict of law” regarding data access and privacy.

“The ability for data to be transferred across borders is fundamental to how the global open internet works,” they stated.

“Without the ability to transfer data across borders, the internet risks being carved up into national and regional silos, restricting the global economy and leaving citizens in different countries unable to access many of the shared services we have come to rely on,” the statement read further.

Meta contends that it continued data transfers between the United States and the European Union in “good faith” and believes that the fine imposed is “unnecessary and disproportionate.” 

The company further expressed disappointment that the European Data Protection Board did not take into consideration the progress made by policymakers to address the underlying issues.

The American Data Privacy and Protection Act, for instance, introduced a “data minimization” approach last year, advocating for technology companies to collect only the data points that are reasonably necessary and proportionate for specific purposes, such as user authentication, fraud prevention, and transaction execution. 

This is not the first time Meta has faced scrutiny and fines under the GDPR. In January, the company was fined €390 million for coercing users into accepting personalized ads as a condition of using Facebook. Additionally, in November 2022, the company was fined €265 million for a data leak.

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