And once again, Meta is facing a hefty fine. The parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp has to pay a whopping 17 million euros in fines. Once again, the authorities are focusing on a violation of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Sad fine for violation of GDPR
By now, it should be almost daily bread for Meta to be prosecuted for a breach of European data protection law. However, one does not really have to feel sorry for Meta this time either in view of a huge fine of 17 million euros. After all, the US tech company is said to have once again been careless with its users’ data. This cannot be justified by pure economic activity, which is the big driving force for the company. However, this time’s payment is not a fine imposed by one of the EU member states. Rather, the data protection commissions of all members have joined forces to impose a community fine.
Community action by EU members
Once you break down the reason for the penalty, it quickly becomes clear why all the members got together. After all, Facebook or Meta is anything but a blank slate for European data protection experts. The fine now imposed is a bundled penalty for a total of twelve violations of the GDPR. However, the data protection violations are not really recent. Rather, they already took place in 2018. The focus of the data protection commissions was, of course, the General Data Protection Regulation. In particular, Articles 5, 24 and 32 were of essential importance.
Processing of personal data not lawful
The three articles concerned all deal with the permission or prohibition of the processing of personal data. In particular, Meta is said to have violated Article 5(2). Here, it is stipulated which requirements must be met in order to justify the collection of personal data. On top of that, there is said to be a violation of Article 24 GDPR. In particular, this concerns the due diligence obligations of the person who collected the data. Above all, the further processing of personal data plays a major role. But that is not all. In addition, data protection officers complain that Meta has not ensured sufficient protection of users within the EU. This concerns both the organizational and the technical design in the context of data collection as well as data transfer.
Meta vows to improve
As is often the case, the U.S. tech company is offering reassuring words. Thus one vows for quite some time a comprehensive improvement of the handling of the user data. In particular, the forwarding of data to US servers has always been a highly controversial process that has caused frown lines to appear on the foreheads of data protection experts within the EU. However, one has to doubt whether the parent company behind the globally successful social networks is too quick to deviate from its corporate policy within the EU. Especially when fines are imposed at regular intervals, which are only peanuts for a tech company like Meta. If you compare the fine of 17 million euros with Meta’s profit of the last year, it quickly becomes clear what the consequences are for the group. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Meta made an impressive 10 billion US dollars in pure profit. Sooner or later, the EU will have to play harder ball to get the social network to rethink.