‘Of no consequence’? Zuckerberg’s Meta fined record $1.3 billion for breaking EU privacy rules

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News May 22, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta been saddled with a record-breaking $1.3 billion fine (€1.2 billion) by EU data regulators for transferring personal data from Facebook’s EU servers to the United States.

The European Data Protection Board announced the fine on Monday morning, which Meta said it would appeal.

The fine accompanies an order to stop data transfers to the U.S.

EU courts believe such data transfers expose EU citizens to privacy violations — a complaint that stems back to 2013 and revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden about U.S. mass surveillance programs.

The fine exceeds the previous EU record of €746 million levied against Amazon in 2021 for similar privacy violations.

Despite the record-breaking size of the fine, experts expressed doubt that it will change anything fundamental about Meta’s privacy practices. “A billion-euro parking ticket is of no consequence to a company that earns many more billions by parking illegally,” Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, told The Guardian.

Meta’s ad-targeting operation relies heavily on transferring data to the U.S. Last year, Meta said it would be forced to consider shutting down Facebook and Instagram in the EU if it wasn’t able to send data back to the U.S.

“Meta cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards,” EU lawmaker Axel Voss said. “Leaving the EU would be their loss.”

Meta described the fine as “unjustified and unnecessary” in a blog post written by president for global affairs Nick Clegg and chief legal officer Jennifer Newstead. The company stressed that it’s only one of “thousands” of companies that use similar legal frameworks to transfer data.

“We are appealing these decisions and will immediately seek a stay with the courts who can pause the implementation deadlines, given the harm that these orders would cause, including to the millions of people who use Facebook every day,” Clegg and Newstead wrote.

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