Instagram was penalized €405 million by Irish authorities for abusing children’s privacy.
The ongoing issue centered on children’s data, notably their email and phone numbers.
According to reports, several users who wanted access to analytics tools like profile visits upgraded to corporate accounts without realizing that doing so made more of their data public.
The company that owns Instagram, Meta, said that it will challenge the ruling. The regulator has penalized the corporation three times.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said, “We adopted our final judgement last Friday and it does entail a fine of €405m [£349m].”
“This investigation focused on outdated settings that we modified over a year ago, and we’ve since added several new features to help keep kids safe and their information private,” a Meta representative told BBC News.
When a person under the age of 18 joins Instagram, their account is immediately set to private, meaning that only individuals they know can view what they post and that adults cannot contact teenagers who are not following them.
“While we have cooperated completely with the DPC throughout their investigation, we disagree with the method used to determine this amount and plan to challenge it.
“We’re still carefully examining the remainder of the judgment,”
Large technological firms with European headquarters in the Republic of Ireland are governed by the DPC.
It has never imposed a fine that size for a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union.
But in contrast, the Luxembourgish data authorities penalized Amazon a record €746 million while it fined WhatsApp €225 million.
Andy Burrows, director of child safety online policy at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), said of Instagram’s fine: “This was a grave infringement with substantial safeguarding consequences and the potential to do genuine damage to children using Instagram.
“The decision highlights how legislation is already keeping children safer online and shows how effective enforcement can safeguard children on social media.
“It’s now up to the next prime minister to deliver the Online Safety Bill in full and without delay in order to meet his pledge to provide children with the best safeguards available.”