One of the reasons Facebook became Meta was to distance the company’s wider ecosystem from the controversial social network. Facebook has had a load of privacy and data problems over the years, and Meta does not want the metaverse, WhatsApp, Oculus, and Instagram tarnished with the same brush.

However, Facebook continues to be raked through the coals by regulators. The difference is now Meta is dealing with the fallout. In other words, merely changing brands does not quite prevent association with Facebook.

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has hit Meta with a €265 million fine over what it sees as Facebook violating privacy laws. According to the regulator, Facebook has not been good enough at preventing data scraping from user profiles.

“The scope of the inquiry concerned an examination and assessment of Facebook Search, Facebook Messenger Contact Importer and Instagram Contact Importer tools in relation to processing carried out by Meta Platforms Ireland Limited (‘MPIL’) during the period between 25 May 2018 and September 2019.

The material issues in this inquiry concerned questions of compliance with the GDPR obligation for Data Protection by Design and Default.  The DPC examined the implementation of technical and organisational measures pursuant to Article 25 GDPR (which deals with this concept).”

Data Loss

DPC is issuing the fine following a leak that resulted in millions of Facebook users suffering data loss where their birthdays, email addresses, locations, and phone numbers. DPC says Meta failed to meet GDPR regulations for data protection and 533 million Facebook users were exploited.

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