Late last week, news broke that Facebook would face a record-breaking fine in Europe for its data and privacy practices. And now, the parameters of the punishment have come into focus. Facebook has officially been hit with a $1.3 billion fine by EU regulators, and the company has also been ordered to stop transferring the data of EU citizens to the US.
The case was first brought against Facebook all the way back in 2013 by legendary privacy advocate Max Schrems, who claimed that EU citizens were facing privacy violations when their Facebook data was collected by US law enforcement. This data transfer is critical to Facebook’s business, and the company has threatened to shut down operations in Europe if something like this came to pass. However, privacy advocates are undeterred by the company’s threat, celebrating this legal win while wishing the fine had been even larger.
“We are happy to see this decision after ten years of litigation,” Schrems said. “The fine could have been much higher, given that the maximum fine is more than 4 billion and Meta has knowingly broken the law to make a profit for ten years.”
Some experts also expressed concern that this fine isn’t big enough to deter Facebook from its data practices.
“A billion-euro parking ticket is of no consequence to a company that earns many more billions by parking illegally,” civil liberties advocate Johnny Ryan said.
However, while this fine may be a drop in the bucket for Facebook, it’s an important win to draw public attention to the company’s privacy issues while hopefully forcing some sort of change.
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