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Insta Fined for $402M By Irish Officials for Violating Teen Privacy Laws

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Insta Fined for $402M By Irish Officials for Violating Teen Privacy Laws-GadgetAny

Irish officials are slapping Instagram with a hefty fine after an inquiry found the social media platform Instagram mishandled teenagers‘ personal information in violation of strict European Union data privacy rules.

In addition, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission informed by email that it made a final accord last week to fine the company $402 million. However, the complete information won’t be released until next week.

Substantially, this can be the second-biggest penalty issued under the EU’s stringent privacy rules after Luxembourg’s regulators fined Amazon 746 million euros the previous year.

Although Instagram parent Meta, which also owns Facebook, said that while it had “engaged fully” with officials throughout the investigation, “we disagree with how this fine was calculated and intended to appeal it.”

The Irish watchdog’s investigation focalized on how Instagram has shown users’ personal details ages 13 to 17, including email addresses and phone numbers. Also, the minimum age for Instagram users is 13.

The investigation started after a data scientist found that users, including those under 18, switched to business accounts and had their personal information displayed on their profiles.

However, the purpose of switching the standard account to a business account is that it enables the users to see stats on how many likes their posts were getting after Instagram removed the option from personal accounts in some countries to help with mental health.

Instagram also claimed that the inquiry focused on “old settings” that were updated more than a year ago. It has since rolled out new privacy features for teens, including automatically setting their accounts to private when they join.

The company said, “We’re continuing to review the rest of the decision carefully.”

Under the EU’s data privacy rules, the Irish watchdog is the lead regulator for many U.S. tech companies with European headquarters in Dublin.

The Irish watchdog has a bucket of information on other inquiries into Meta-owned companies. Last year, it fined WhatsApp 225 million euros for breaching rules on transparency about sharing people’s data with other Meta companies.

Now, the way Meta and Instagram handle the online experience of its youngest users has been under considerable scrutiny in the last couple of years, thanks in part to Frances Haugen’s testimony about Instagram’s effect on mental health. 

Meanwhile, Instagram has also tried to build more products for those young users, which has been met with considerable backlash.

Adam Mosseri, the Instagram head, has argued in favor of this work, though: “I have to believe parents would prefer the option for their children to use an age-appropriate version of Instagram that gives them oversight than the alternative,” he said last year.

In addition, he promised to work with regulators to make that happen, and Meta said it also cooperated with the DPC’s recent investigation.

Raulf Hernes

By Raulf Hernes

If you ask me raulf means ALL ABOUT TECH!!

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