The Data Protection Commission (DPC) in Ireland has fined Instagram, the social media platform owned by US-based technology company Meta, amounting to 405 million euros for violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Allegedly, Instagram is allegedly violating children’s privacy, including by posting children’s email addresses and phone numbers. “We took our final decision last Friday and this includes a fine of 405 million euros,” said a spokesperson for the Irish Data Protection Commission.
INVESTIGATION STARTED IN 2020
The Data Protection Commission (DPC) launched an investigation into social media platform Instagram in September 2020 regarding how it handled account details of underage youth. The Irish authorities’ investigation focused on how Instagram retains the personal information of users between the ages of 13 and 17, including email addresses and phone numbers. The investigation also looked at whether the Instagram user registration system resulted in child accounts being set to “public” by default, unless the account’s privacy settings were set to “private”.
META WILL OBJECT
A spokesperson for Instagram’s parent company Meta said in a statement, “This investigation focused on old settings that we updated a year ago, and we’ve since released many new features to help keep teens safe and their information private. Anyone under the age of 18 can access Instagram. “When she joins, her account is automatically set to private so only people they know can see what they’re posting, and adults can’t message teens who don’t follow them. Although we’ve been in contact with DPC throughout their investigation, we disagree with this fine and are considering appealing.”
More details on the investigation will be released next week.
SECOND BIGGEST PENALTY
The penalty was the second largest imposed under the strict confidentiality rules of the European Union (EU). Earlier, the Data Protection Commission in Luxembourg fined Amazon company 746 million euros.
On the other hand, the Data Protection Commission in Ireland carried out another investigation into other social media companies owned by Meta. Last year, WhatsApp was fined 225 million euros for violating transparency rules about sharing people’s data with other Meta companies. Meta company has Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp.