Ireland’s data privacy regulator has slapped a $402 million fine on Instagram for its poor handling of children’s data.
The decision follows the conclusion of a 2020 investigation, which found that children between the ages of 13 and 17 were allowed to operate business accounts, which revealed their phone numbers and email addresses.
“We adopted our final decision last Friday, and it does contain a fine of 405 million euros,” said a spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC).
DPC has regulatory power over tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Meta, as many of these companies’ European headquarters are based in Ireland. Meta, for one, has been a key target of the regulator as it is the subject of more than a dozen open investigations relating to Facebook and WhatsApp.
Last year, the regulator fined WhatsApp was fined a record $223.8 million for failing to comply with EU’s data regulations in 2018.
Meta, the parent company of Instagram, said it is carefully reviewing the decision and plans to file an appeal against it as it disagrees with how the fine was calculated.
A company spokesperson also noted that Instagram updated its privacy settings a year ago to keep the private information of teens safe, CNN reported.