Instagram fined €405m over children's data privacy

11 Sept 2022

Instagram was penalised €405 million by Irish authorities for abusing children's privacy. The ongoing issue centred on children's data, notably their email and phone numbers. According to reports, several users who wanted access to analytics tools like profile visits upgraded to corporate accounts without realising that doing so made more of their data public.
The company that owns Instagram, Meta, announced that it will challenge the ruling. It is the third fine imposed to the corporation by the authority. Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) stated, "We adopted our final judgement last Friday and it does entail a fine of €405m [£349m]."
"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 representative 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 cannot message teens who don't follow them. "While we have cooperated completely with the DPC throughout their investigation, we disagree with the methodology used to determine this amount and plan to appeal it," the statement continued.

Large technological firms with European headquarters in the Republic of Ireland are governed by the DPC. It has never imposed a fine that size for a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union. But in contrast, the Luxembourgish data authorities penalized Amazon a record €746 million while it fined WhatsApp €225 million.
Andy Burrows, director of child safety online policy at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), commented on Instagram's fine: "This was a serious breach that might actually hurt kids who use Instagram and had serious safeguarding ramifications.
"The decision highlights how regulation is already making children safer online and shows how effective enforcement can safeguard kids on social media. "It's now up to the next prime minister to deliver the Online Safety Bill in full and without delay in order to meet his promise to provide children with the best protections possible."

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