Italy Fines Meta $3.8 Million Over Personal Data Misuse

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Italy Fines Meta $3.8 Million Over Data Breach

On June 5th, Italy’s competition authority imposed a significant fine of €3.5 million (approximately $3.8 million) on Meta. The fine was issued due to concerns about the company’s handling of personal data on Instagram and Facebook. Specifically, the Italian watchdog, AGCM, cited Meta’s “unfair commercial practices” related to the use of personal data and the management of user accounts on these platforms.

In particular, Meta failed to inform Instagram users clearly and promptly when they signed up via the web that their data would be used for commercial purposes. Furthermore, when it came to managing account suspensions on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s approach was less than optimal.

What does that mean? 

Firstly, Meta did not clarify whether the decision to suspend accounts was made by a human or an automated process. Furthermore, they did not inform users how they could challenge these suspensions. Imagine waking up to find your account suspended and not knowing if a person or an algorithm made that call, or how to fix it. This is an unsatisfactory situation.

Furthermore, Meta imposed a short deadline of 30 days for users to contest the suspensions. This was a challenging timeframe.
However, there have been positive developments since the investigation began. Meta has enhanced its transparency regarding data usage for ads on Instagram and expanded the options and information available to users for appealing account suspensions.

Meta has stated that it does not entirely concur with the decision and is considering its next steps. However, it has acknowledged the Italian authority’s recognition of its efforts to assist users in regaining access to their accounts.

What can we learn from this? As users, we must continue to demand clarity and fairness. For companies like Meta, it is imperative to enhance their performance.

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