Facebook owner Meta has been fined €1.2 billion by the European Union for violating data protection law while transferring personal data to the U.S.-- the biggest such penalty in EU history.
The social network giant, which has a $630bn market value, has also been given a five-month deadline to stop shipping users’ data to the U.S. to protect personal information from the eyes of American security services.
On top of the fine -- which eclipses the €746 million penalty previously doled out to Amazon in 2021 -- Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) gave Meta six months to stop “the unlawful processing, including storage, in the U.S.” of personal EU data.
“We are… disappointed to have been singled out when using the same legal mechanism as thousands of other companies looking to provide services in Europe,” said Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs.
“This decision is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless other companies transferring data between the EU and the U.S.,” Clegg added.
The ban on data transfers is under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Last year Meta threatened a total withdrawal from the EU if the DPC imposed a ban on data flows to the U.S.
The penalty -- the latest in a string of fines -- comes as Meta is battling an advertising slump amid a broader economic slowdown, prompting chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to conduct several rounds of lay-offs.