This week, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp was fined nearly $270 million by Irish authorities for not being transparent about how it uses the data collected from people on the platform.
This decision marks the first major ruling against Facebook since the European Union instituted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one of the strongest data privacy laws in the world. Still, until now, the law has led to few fines or punishments for social media giants like Facebook. However, this case could signal that those days are coming to an end. That’s probably why Facebook vigorously defended itself after the decision was released and vowed to appeal it.
“WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service,” WhatsApp spokesperson Joshua Breckman said in a statement. “We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so. We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate.”
There’s almost no way this doesn’t result in a lengthy court battle between Facebook and the EU. However, it’s worth watching, because the ultimate ruling could have far-reaching consequences for user privacy around the world.
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