Instagram fined $400m for breaching children's privacy

The platform's parent company Meta says it plans to appeal

The fine is the largest that Ireland's Data Protection Commission, which regulates big-tech companies, has ever handed out. Solen Feyissa / Unsplash
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Instagram has been fined €405 million ($400m) by Irish regulators for violating children's privacy.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission has had a long-running complaint with Instagram and its parent company Meta, with concerns over the protection of children’s data on the platform, including addresses and phone numbers.

The complaint states that some children upgraded to business accounts to access analytics tools such as profile visits, without realising this made more of their data public.

"We adopted our final decision last Friday and it does contain a fine of €405m," the commission said.

Meta said it planned to appeal.

"This inquiry focused on old settings that we updated over a year ago and we've since released many new features to help keep teens safe and their information private,” a Meta representative told the BBC.

"Anyone under 18 automatically has their account set to private when they join Instagram, so only people they know can see what they post and adults can't message teens who don't follow them.

"While we've engaged fully with the DPC throughout their inquiry, we disagree with how this fine was calculated and intend to appeal it.

"We're continuing to carefully review the rest of the decision."

The fine is the largest that the DPC, which regulates big-tech companies, has ever handed out.

The regulator, along with the European Data Protection Board, fined WhatsApp €225m last year after finding it didn’t properly inform EU citizens about how it collected and used their data, and how that data was shared with Meta.

Updated: September 06, 2022, 3:34 PM