Norway’s data protection regulator, Datatilsynet, announced today that Meta’s monitoring activities involving Instagram and Facebook users infringes upon their privacy rights. Failure to initiate corrective measures will subject the company to a one million crowns ($100,000) daily fine, starting from August 4th until November 3rd. “The illegality is so apparent that we have no choice but to intervene immediately,” stated Tobias Judin, the Chief of Datatilsynet.
This decision follows a ruling from a European court that prohibits Meta from collecting user data, such as location and behavior, for advertising purposes. Datatilsynet has communicated its actions to Europe’s Data Protection Board, which could potentially extend the fine across Europe. The goal is to exert “additional pressure” on Meta, according to Judin. (Although Norway participates in the European single market, it is not an official EU member.)
In response to Datatilsynet’s decision, Meta told Reuters that it is currently reviewing the decision, and it will not immediately affect their services. A spokesperson commented, “We persistently engage with the Irish DPC, our primary regulator in the EU, in discussions about our compliance with its decision. The discourse around legal bases has been ongoing, and businesses continue to grapple with a lack of regulatory clarity in this area.”
Across Europe, Meta is being confronted with pushback over its data privacy practices. Earlier this month, Ireland’s data regulator (DPC) determined that Meta cannot collect user data for behavioral advertising purposes. In May, Meta was slammed with a record €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) fine for transferring EU user data to its US-based servers.
Moreover, Threads, Meta’s rival to Twitter, is not yet accessible in the European Union due to privacy issues. At the launch of Threads, Meta acknowledged that it hadn’t prepared the service for a European rollout outside the UK, which isn’t fully subject to GDPR or EU privacy regulations. In a more drastic measure, Meta has even blocked EU users from accessing the new social media site using a VPN.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Meta Privacy Issues
What has Norway’s data protection regulator, Datatilsynet, said about Meta’s tracking activities?
Datatilsynet announced that Meta’s tracking activities on Instagram and Facebook infringe upon user privacy rights. They stated that if the company does not initiate corrective measures, they could be fined one million crowns ($100,000) per day from August 4th until November 3rd.
Why could the fine be extended across Europe?
Datatilsynet has communicated its actions to Europe’s Data Protection Board. This board has the authority to potentially extend the fine across Europe, exerting additional pressure on Meta.
How has Meta responded to this decision?
Meta has stated that it’s reviewing the decision by Datatilsynet. They reassured that this decision wouldn’t have an immediate impact on their services. They continue to engage with the Irish DPC, their lead regulator in the EU, discussing compliance with its decision.
What other actions has Meta faced in Europe over data privacy?
In addition to the potential fines from Norway, Meta was recently ruled by Ireland’s data regulator that it cannot collect user data for behavioral advertising. In May, they were also hit with a record €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) fine for transferring EU user data to its servers in the US.
Why isn’t Meta’s new social media site, Threads, available in the European Union?
Threads isn’t available in the EU due to privacy concerns. At its launch, Meta stated that it hadn’t yet prepared the service for a European rollout outside the UK. They’ve even blocked EU users from accessing Threads with a VPN.