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Instagram hit with $400 million fine for violation of EU children privacy rules

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Instagram has received the second-highest fine under the European Union General Data Protection Regulation with a €405 million bill – the highest was a €746 million penalty to Amazon last year. This fine is due to a violation of children’s privacy, including the publication of kids’ email addresses and phone numbers.

The report comes from Politico. The publication says this is the third time the Irish Data Protection Commission fined a Meta-owned company and that the regulator imposed the fine “after having to trigger a dispute-resolution mechanism to resolve other European data protection authorities’ input on the penalty,” meaning this decision took extra time

According to TechCrunch, this complaint focused on the “platforms’ processing of children’s data for business accounts and on a user registration system it operated.” Previously, children’s accounts were set to “public” by default, making them more easily targeted by ads, apart from other safety concerns.

The publication talks about the fact that the GDPR contains “strong measure requiring privacy by design and default generally,” something Instagram wasn’t able to deliver at the moment.

To Politico, a Meta spokesperson commented on the matter:

“This inquiry focused on old settings that we updated over a year ago, and we’ve since released many new features to help keep teens safe and their information private,” a Meta spokesperson said. “Anyone under 18 automatically has their account set to private when they join Instagram, so only people they know can see what they post, and adults can’t message teens who don’t follow them. We engaged fully with the DPC throughout their inquiry, and we’re carefully reviewing their final decision.”

The Irish DPC has still another six investigations into Meta-owned companies and it declined to comment on this penalty to Instagram.

In February, Meta threatened to pull Instagram and Facebook in Europe over privacy laws. Regulators have challenged the company, which not only didn’t go out of business in the country, but it’s now facing its third fine. You can read more about it here.

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About the Author


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José Adorno

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at tv globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

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