The Data Brief

A monthly data protection bulletin from the barristers at 5 Essex Chambers

Getting no better for Meta

31 January 2023

In a rear guard action against the continued domination of the internet by social media, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has fined the tech giant Meta €390m (€210m for Facebook and €180 for Instagram). This related to the use of data and algorithms by those Meta platforms that created personalised targeted adverts. The DPC rejected the argument advanced by Meta that users consented, following a change in the user agreements on 25 May 2018, to the use of their data for targeted advertising when they agreed to the terms and conditions as part of owning an account. The DPC initially found for Meta but reversed its decision following binding rulings 3-5/2022 by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). The DPC required Meta to change its practices within 3 months. Meta indicated it would appeal.

Whilst the fine is substantial, it is the EDPB’s ruling that is likely to be more significant as posing a direct refutation of the business model of social media platforms, which make the vast majority of their revenue through advertising. Additionally, the EDPB has directed the DPC to investigate all of Instagram’s and Facebook’s data processing operations, although the DPC has indicated it might challenge that direction.

Regulator’s press release: click here

The Data Brief

A monthly data protection bulletin from the barristers at 5 Essex Chambers

The Data Brief is edited by Francesca Whitelaw KC, Aaron Moss and John Goss, barristers at 5 Essex Chambers, with contributions from the whole information law, data protection and AI Team.

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