The European Union has some of the strictest privacy laws for online users. The EU has doled many fines to Apple, Google, and Meta for violating their privacy rules. While many of these fines seem like a lot, they are a drop in the bucket for most tech companies. The latest penalty comes from Ireland, as Meta has to pay $277M for breaking EU privacy rules.

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The Data Protection Commission has determined that platforms run by Meta, such as Facebook, have infringed on the General Data Protection Regulation rules the EU has in place. These rules require companies to put technical and organizational components to protect their users’ data.

The fine followed an investigation launched last year after regulators read reports of 533 million Facebook users’ data being leaked online. The leaked data included names, Facebook IDs, phone numbers, locations, births, and email addresses and affected users from more than 100 countries. It was that leak that prompted Techaeris to delete our own Facebook accounts.

Meta claims the leaked data was scraped from Facebook using a people finder tool. The investigation looked into the scraping incidents between May 2018 and September 2019.

The company said it had “fully cooperated” with the Irish watchdog.

“We made changes to our systems during the time in question, including removing the ability to scrape our features in this way using phone numbers,” Meta said in a statement. “Unauthorized data scraping is unacceptable and against our rules.”


The fine given to Meta also includes some corrective steps the EU wants the company to take. How the company will respond as the EU rules get tighter yearly remains to be seen.

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Last Updated on November 28, 2022.

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