by John Hugh DeMastri
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined Instagram €405 million ($403 million USD) Monday over child privacy violations, according to Business Insider.
The fine for failing to protect the privacy of minors stemmed from a variety of default settings for minor-operated accounts that the data watchdog considered improper, according to Business Insider. Children were allowed to operate business accounts, receive messages from adults and had their accounts set to “public” by default, according to Business Insider.
The fine is the second highest ever issued under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, after Amazon was fined €746 million in the spring for privacy violations in its advertisement system, according to Politico. The third such fine against Meta by the DPC, there are at least six similar investigations currently underway against Meta-owned companies currently active at the DPC.
“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 spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “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 can’t message teens who don’t follow them. We engaged fully with the DPC throughout their inquiry, and we’re carefully reviewing their final decision.”
Ireland's data protection agency fined Instagram ~$400M for violating children's privacy online.
It investigated the social media giant for setting teenagers' accounts public by default and making contact info public.
This is the agency's 3rd fine for a Meta-owned company. pic.twitter.com/CVU2die7WN
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 5, 2022
More than 60 million Instagram users under the age of 18 converted their accounts to business accounts prior to the establishment of new rules on Instagram, according to The Washington Post. Business accounts gave minors access to a wide variety of analytics, such as data on the number of visitors to a profile and the number of views each post received, but it also revealed their contact information to the public, something users could be unaware of.
The fine is the largest such fine Meta has faced so far, with a €225 million fine announced against messaging app WhatsApp last September, and a €17 million fine against Facebook in March, bringing the total sum to €647 million, according to the Post.
Ireland is primarily responsible for regulating tech giants including Apple, Google and Meta in the E.U. since their E.U. headquarters are located there, the Post reported.
The DPC did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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John Hugh DeMastri is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.