Key points:

  • Irish regulators have asked Instagram to pay a whopping $402 million fine
  • The fine was imposed after an investigation found that Instagram had violated the privacy of teenage users
  • The fine is the second largest ever under the current GDPR privacy laws

The tech world is rife with controversies, regulatory violations, and legal tiffs. This time it’s Instagram that is at the receiving end.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has imposed a $402 million fine on Instagram. They found Instagram guilty of mishandling the private information of teenagers in the European Union by Irish regulators. This directly violates the stringent data privacy laws across the European Union. The fine is almost 1% of Meta’s (Instagram’s parent company) net income in 2021.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Brace yourself! NFTs are coming to Instagram soon!

Instagram asked to pay $402 million

The popular social media platform is hit with the second-largest privacy fine in the European Union. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said that it imposed the fine after a long-running investigation found that Instagram had exposed more contact information of minors who were operating business accounts on the platform.

The investigating data regulator stated it has confirmed the judgment and the penalties after implementing the revisions requested by a group that represents all the bloc’s privacy regulators.

Will Meta appeal?

Meta has said that since this decision was taken based on old settings that were updated almost a year ago and thus, it will appeal the amount of the fine. Meta has said that until late 2019, the contact information of business users was displayed by default. However, now, it is optional. In addition, the social network giant has said that they automatically set the accounts of users under the age of 18 to private when they sign up; a newly introduced safety feature.

Social media companies are under fire worldwide

The decision’s focus on kids touches a delicate subject for social media companies: how they handle minors using their services. Instagram came under fire and was the subject of inquiries when articles in The Wall Street Journal revealed that the firm’s internal study found the app was detrimental for adolescent girls with concerns about their bodies. The business ultimately suspended the development of an Instagram kids app.

At present, there are 37 pending privacy cases in Ireland that involve major tech companies. It includes a case that will decide whether Meta may gather specific information about its users as a condition of using the service.

Another legal action filed by Ireland might push Facebook to discontinue transferring user data to American servers. Meta has stated in securities filings that it may cease parts of its services in Europe if that decision is implemented before the EU and US agree on a new legal framework for such data transfers.

What are your views on the heavy fine slapped on Instagram? Will Meta pay the whole amount or reduce the fine? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Facebook stock price falls after over 6-hour global outage

For more updates and tech news, continue reading iTMunch!

Feature Image Source: Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash