Instagram Fined $400M for Breaking Data Protection Laws in Ireland

The US tech giant Instagram is facing over $400 million in fines, currently the highest for a Meta-owned company, in Ireland for breaking data protection laws, specifically pertaining to children’s privacy on the app, the Irish regulator has informed.

The Irish Data Protection Commission penalized the social media platform for violating the General Data Protection Regulation and how the data of children on the app is handled.

The DPC didn’t offer further details regarding the decision that stemmed from its investigation launched two years ago based on claims that phone numbers and email addresses of teens who had business accounts on the platform were made available to the public.

The platform was also scrutinized for having public-by-default accounts for children between the ages of 13 and 17.

Following the explosive investigation published by The Wall Street Journal last year, which was based on information obtained by Frances Haugen, former Facebook product manager, Meta, and other social media networks are under increasing scrutiny.

As a result of the investigation, the outlet brought to light the extent to which Facebook knew Instagram was unhealthy for teens.

However, Meta spokesperson said – with regard to the Irish regulator’s fine – that the old settings that inquiry focused on were updated immediately and pointed out that the myriad of new features the platform released since then help keep teenagers safe and their information private

As per Meta’s explanation, new features mean that any minor’s account is automatically set to private when they join Instagram so their posts can only be seen by people they know, and they can’t receive messages from adults they don’t follow.

Meta spokesperson also emphasized that the company was fully engaged with the DPC inquiry and is carefully reviewing its final decision.

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