Meta has been hit with a record-breaking fine of €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) by European Union regulators. The penalty was imposed due to the transfer of personal data belonging to Facebook’s EU users to servers based in the United States.
Meta Facing Allegations
A statement was issued by the European Data Protection Board on Monday, revealing that Facebook (FB) has been penalized following an inquiry by the Irish Data Protection Commission, which is responsible for supervising Meta’s operations in Europe. The fine, the biggest ever imposed under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), was imposed. Furthermore, Meta has been directed to halt the collection of personal data from European users in the United States within six months.
As per the European Data Protection Board’s chair, Andrea Jelinek, the severity of Meta’s violation is significant due to the repetitive, and systematic nature of the transfers. Given Facebook’s vast user base in Europe, the amount of personal data transferred is considerable. Jelinek also emphasized that this high monetary penalty sends a strong message to organizations regarding the extensive consequences of severe infringements.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, plans to appeal the recent court decision and accompanying fine. Despite this, the company has confirmed that its services in Europe will continue uninterrupted.
Facebook has cited a conflict of laws between US data access regulations and European privacy rights as the cause of the dispute. However, they believe that a middle-ground can be reached, as policymakers in the EU and US are collaborating on a new transatlantic Data Privacy Framework aimed at addressing this issue.
In response to these allegations, the Meta’s global affairs president, Nick Clegg, and chief legal officer, Jennifer Newstead, criticized the European Data Protection Board’s decision to disregard the strides made by policymakers on the matter. He claimed that this decision is flawed, lacks justification, and could set a dangerous precedent for other companies that transfer data between the US and EU.
Furthermore, he said that the global operation of the open internet heavily relies on the transfer of data across borders. This transfer is vital to numerous companies and entities that rely on it to provide essential services and carry out daily operations between the US and the EU.