In a landmark decision, Meta Platforms Ireland Limited (Meta IE), the parent company of Facebook, has been slapped with a historic fine of €1.2 billion (approximately $1.4 billion USD) by the Irish Data Protection Authority (IE DPA, also known as the Data Protection Commission). This penalty sets a new record for the largest-ever fine issued under the GDPR.
The investigation centered around Meta’s transfer of personal data to the United States using standard contractual clauses since July 16, 2020. Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), emphasized the gravity of Meta IE’s violation:
“The EDPB found that Meta IE’s infringement is very serious since it concerns transfers that are systematic, repetitive and continuous. Facebook has millions of users in Europe, so the volume of personal data transferred is massive. The unprecedented fine is a strong signal to organisations that serious infringements have far-reaching consequences.”
On April 13, 2023, the EDPB issued a binding decision, instructing the IE DPA to revise its original decision and levy a fine against Meta IE. Meta IE was also ordered to bring its data processing operations in line with Chapter V of the GDPR—more specifically, discontinuing the unlawful processing and storage of European users’ personal data in the United States, in violation of the GDPR. Meta IE has a six-month timeframe from the notification of the IE DPA’s final decision to comply.
The EDPB’s full press release can be read here.
This historic penalty once again showcases how dedicated European authorities are to enforcing stringent data privacy standards. Organizations worldwide are urged to take heed of this groundbreaking decision, recognizing that non-compliance with data protection regulations can result in severe financial penalties and reputational damage. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, safeguarding individuals’ personal information remains a critical responsibility for companies.
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