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Instagram has been fined $402 million in the EU for making public the data of young users

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission fined Meta 405 million euros (about $402 million) over how it handled the teenagers’ data. The decision and fine were finalized last Friday, DPC spokesman Caolmhe McGuire said to the edge, And “full details of the decision will be published next week.”

The deadline for the DPC to take a final decision on the matter ends this week. The investigation was launched nearly two years ago and focused on two ways the company allegedly violated GDPR regulations. The first was to allow young users aged 13-17 to set up business accounts on the Instagram platform, making those users’ contact information publicly available. (Users sometimes switch to business accounts because doing so gives them access to more engagement analytics.) Instagram also allegedly made some young users’ accounts public by default.

This is the third and largest fine by the DPC against Meta, easily surpassing the 225 million euros (about $267 million at the time) the company faced after the DPC found that WhatsApp had not properly informed EU citizens about how it collected and used it. Their data, especially about how they share that data back with Meta. WhatsApp was ordered to change its privacy policy and said it plans to appeal. There was also a much smaller fine of 17 million euros (about $18.6 million) for record-keeping issues about security breaches. The DPC has dozens of other investigations against big tech companies, including Meta’s data practices.

Meta said in a statement politics It said it updated the public-by-default setting a year ago and “When someone under 18 joins Instagram, their account is automatically set to private, so only people they know can see what they post and adults can’t message teens who don’t follow them. The company said Associated Press “We disagree with how this fine was calculated and intend to appeal it.”

Thanks to Frances Haugen’s testimony about Instagram’s impact on mental health. Instagram also simultaneously tried to create more products for those younger users, which backfired. Instagram head Adam Mosseri argued in favor of the move, however: “I believe parents would love the option for their kids to use an age-appropriate version of Instagram — it gives them more oversight than an alternative,” he said. Said last year. He promised to work with regulators to make that happen and said Meta had also cooperated with the DPC’s recent inquiry.

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