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Ireland’s data privacy regulator has issued a record $402 million (€405 million) fine against social media powerhouse Instagram following an investigation that found it broke laws regulating the handling of children’s data online.
Instagram parent Meta Platforms has said it will appeal the fine.
The Irish investigation, which began in 2020, found that Instagram allowed child users aged between 13 and 17 to operate business accounts on Instagram, which facilitated the publication of the users’ phone numbers and/or email addresses. That, ruled Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, was a violation of the country’s laws protecting child data online. The Data Protection Commission regulates Meta’s companies, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as Apple, Google and other tech giants, which have their European headquarters in Ireland.
The full details of the decision will be published next week.
A spokesperson for Meta said Instagram updated its settings over a year ago to address the problem and has since released new features “to keep teens safe and their information private.”
The spokesperson said Instagram disagrees with how the fine was calculated and is carefully reviewing the decision.
This isn’t the first time Meta has fallen awry of European data laws. In 2018, WhatsApp was slapped with a €225 million fine, a record sum at the time, for failing to comply with EU data rules.
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