EU Slaps Meta with Record Privacy Fine: What It Means for Data Transfers

The European Union fined Meta (formerly Facebook) a record $1.3 billion for privacy violations and ordered the company to halt the transfer of user data to the U.S. by October.

The fine is the largest under the EU's data privacy regime, surpassing Amazon's previous fine for data protection violations.

Meta plans to appeal the decision and is seeking a court order to suspend the ruling.

The ruling affects user data such as names, email addresses, IP addresses, messages, viewing history, and geolocation data used for targeted online ads.

Meta's executives criticized the decision, calling it flawed and setting a dangerous precedent for other companies transferring data between the EU and the U.S.

The legal battle began in 2013 when privacy activist Max Schrems filed a complaint about Facebook's handling of his data after revelations of U.S. cybersnooping.

The case highlights the differences in data privacy regulations between Europe and the U.S.

Previous agreements governing EU-U.S. data transfers, such as the Privacy Shield and stock legal contracts, have been invalidated.

A reworked Privacy Shield agreement is pending approval from European officials.

Meta's lead privacy regulator in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission, issued the fine and ordered Meta to stop sending European user data to the U.S. and to comply with privacy rules by erasing the data if necessary.