Meta, fined 265 million euros in the EU for lack of data protection

US social media giant Meta, the parent company of Facebook, was fined 265 million euros ($277 million) by the Irish regulator on behalf of the European Union on Monday for failing to adequately protect its users’ data.

“The Data Protection Commission (CPD) has announced today the conclusion of an investigation into Meta Platforms”, a subsidiary of the giant that “controls the data of the social network Facebook, imposing a fine of 265 million euros and a series of measures corrections,” the agency said in a statement.

The CPD had announced in April 2021 the opening of an investigation into Facebook on behalf of the EU, after learning of the hacking of more than 530 million user data in an action that dates back to 2019.

Facebook has its European headquarters in the Republic of Ireland, so it falls to the Irish regulator to conduct the investigation.

This focused on the applications “Facebook Search, Facebook Messenger Contact Importer and Instagram Contact Importer (…) between May 25, 2018 and September 2019” and sought to find out if Meta had sufficiently protected its users’ data according to the EU regulations.

“The decision” to fine Meta and its corresponding subsidiaries was adopted on Friday after verifying “non-compliance with European regulations”, details the CPD.

The hack detected in 2019 used a method known as “scraping,” the looting of Facebook profiles using software that mimics the functionality of the network of identity to help users easily find their friends, by accessing their contact list.

“Protecting people’s personal data is critical to running our business,” a Meta spokesperson reacted on Monday.

“That is why we have fully cooperated with the Data Protection Commission on this important issue” and “we have made changes to our systems,” he added.