On Monday, Irish watchdog charged Facebook parent Meta with a 265 million-euro ($277 million) fine. This is the company’s latest punishment for breaking strict European Union data privacy rules.
The Data Protection Commission of Ireland said that Meta Platforms violated sections of the EU rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, that require technical and organizational measures aimed at protecting user data.
The regulator carried out a probe last year into news reports that said data of more than 533 million users was found dumped online. According to the reports, the confidential data was found on a website for hackers and included names, Facebook IDs, phone numbers, locations, birthdates and email addresses for people from more than 100 countries.
The parent company reponded that the data had been “scraped” from Facebook using tools designed to help people find their friends through phone numbers using search and contact import features. The Irish regulator said it probed the automated scraping carried out between May 2018 and September 2019.
In a statement, Meta said, “We made changes to our systems during the time in question, including removing the ability to scrape our features in this way using phone numbers. Unauthorized data scraping is unacceptable and against our rules.”