The Irish Data Protection Commission has fined Meta €405 million (about $402 million) after an investigation into how it handled teenagers’ data. The decision and the fine were finalized last Friday, DPC spokesman Caolmhe McGuire . said The edge, and “full details of the decision will be published next week.”
The DPC’s deadline for making a final decision on this matter was the end of this week. The lead investigation began nearly two years ago and focused on two ways the company allegedly violated GDPR rules. The first was Instagram which allowed young users aged 13-17 to set up business accounts on the platform, making those users’ contact information publicly available. (Users sometimes switch to business accounts as it gives access to more engagement analytics.) Instagram is also said to have made some young users’ accounts public by default.
Meta said in a statement to Politics that it updated the public default setting more than a year ago, and that “Everyone under the age of 18 has automatically set their account to private when they join Instagram so that only people they know can see what they post, and adults don’t message teens who don’t follow them.” Company told the Associated Press that “we disagree with the way this fine has been calculated and plan to appeal it.”
The way Meta — and Instagram in particular — handles the online experience as its youngest users have come under immense scrutiny in recent years, thanks in part to Frances Haugen’s testimony about Instagram’s effect on mental health. At the same time, Instagram has also been trying to build more products for those young users, which has met with huge backlash. However, Instagram head Adam Mosseri has argued for this work: “I have to believe that parents prefer the option for their children to use an age-appropriate version of Instagram – which gives them overview – than the alternative,” he said. said last year. He pledged to work with regulators to make that happen, and Meta said it was also cooperating with the DPC’s recent investigation.