back to article Meta fined $275m after data-scraping fiasco leaked 533m Facebook users' profiles

Ireland's data privacy agency today said it fined Meta €265 million ($275 million) for failing to protect users' data after millions of Facebook users' phone numbers and other private info was given away online for free.  The country's Data Protection Commission (DPC) also ordered the social media giant to implement a "range …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Balance sheet

    You win some, you lose some.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Balance sheet

      $0.50/user. That's the value they place on your data and your life's sanity.

      I'd say Meta-sploit got off easy, as per usual. In no way is the penalty big enough to force change.

  2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    533 Million

    That is a lot of people. I wonder whether Meta will, or can, be sued in another jurisdiction and be hit with additional penalties for the same infraction? (Legal Beagles please advise.)

    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: 533 Million

      As it’s GDPR … feels like the ruling just covers the EU which including the UK at the time would have been around the 533m. However that would assume everyone has an account, which self-evidently they don’t… thought over FB, WA, Insta with triplication … I can about see it.

      1. Elongated Muskrat

        Re: 533 Million

        Do you think that just because you don't have an account on FB, FB doesn't have a profile on you? Interesting.

    2. hoola Silver badge

      Re: 533 Million

      And still nowhere near enough of a fine.

      The fines need to be crippling and unequivocal. No wriggling and doing deals.

      Then add in people, particularly executives being made responsible and suffering penalties would start to focus minds. At the moment the worst case is someone get's a reduced bonus.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: 533 Million

        I thought the same, it is €0.5 per user

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Cost of doing business

    That looks like 50 cents per profile. Seems like a bargain.

    When fines are going to be fines and not simply a cost of doing business?

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Cost of doing business

      "When [are] fines are going to be fines and not simply a cost of doing business?"

      When politicians and senior civil servants no longer expect lucrative positions in commercial companies after their careers 'serving' the public.

      Who was it that hired that 'nice' Nick Clegg, former leader of the Lib Dems and deputy PM of the UK?

      1. dogcatcher

        Re: Cost of doing business

        Wouldn't it be nice if the €265 million came out of his pocket.

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Cost of doing business

        > after their careers 'serving' the public

        With a salad.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. mpi

      Re: Cost of doing business

      That was my thought exactly.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's what they think your privacy is worth then. Not even a buck.

    And that spread over the literal years this took to move through the courts.

    Yeah, that has just fixed everything wrong with Facebook/Insta/Meta in one fell swoop. I'm sure Zuckerburg woke up in a cold sweat, shaking like a leaf.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    That’s OK then…

    "Protecting the privacy and security of people's data is fundamental to how our business works," the Meta spokesperson said

    Is this code for: We don’t usually just give the stuff away, payment is preferred.

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: That’s OK then…

      The correct interpretation of "Protecting the privacy and security of people's data is fundamental to how our business works,"

      "We will harvest as much of your information as possible to use as we wish and to sell to anyone we can for money".

  7. Lazlo Woodbine

    GDPR fines...

    .... can be up to 4% of an offender's global turnover

    In 2021 Facebook / Meta turned over a mere $117.9 billion, so 4% would be $4.7 billion, a much more appropriate figure.

  8. Tubz Bronze badge

    For every failed appeal should result in triple fines and all costs, will stop these companies playing the system by dragging things out in different levels of the courts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But on the other side, it would mean if a big company sued a small company or an individual it would rapidly become impossible for the small company or individual to appeal at all. Big fines just make it easier for big businesses to destroy small businesses and individuals in court.

      1. Pete B Silver badge

        Maybe what should happen is that the GDPR 4% of turnover rule should be more widely applied so that eg if you lost against a big business the max it could cost you would be 4% of your turnover, on the other hand when you win it's 4% of their turnover that they get fines. That would level things up nicely.

        The real problem with GDPR fines is that even if the DPC tried to fine them 4% of turnover they would appeal, and they have far more resources than the DPC does, so it would never get paid - thus the fines tend to be chump change to the criminal company, but the DPC can say they got something. (Look at the UK vs British Airways eventual settlement as an example)

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      That would be against the law of unintended consequences.

  9. Zakspade

    These things make me smile. I have a FB account. If my account had been part of that data leak, all anyone would get was my name. DoB, email, phone, in fact ALL data fields required are filled with dummy data. Anyone who knows me doesn't need FB to make contact with me (although it is simple). Likewise, or ALL of my FB Friends I hold a contact method (not on/within FB). If FB vanished off the face of the earth overnight, my interaction with friends would go on. The criminals end up with just a name...

    Basically, folks - why bother populating accounts with real data?

    1. First Light Silver badge

      But can you handle all those people wishing you Happy Birthday on the wrong day, lol?

      (It happens to me because of my fake Yahoo DOB).

  10. ElRegioLPL

    Just the cost of doing business for these companies. This fine will just be to keep the EU happy which is why it's so low.

    After all, this is the same country that repeatedly went to court to avoid collecting 13 billion in tax from Apple.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tell me when they've actually paid it. They'll just appeal and appeal and appeal for 5 years until the regulator gives up, or settles for 500 dollars and a promise to never do it again.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's where they went wrong

    > Crooks then offered all of the personal data for free

    You're supposed to charge for it like everyone else are doing.

  13. chivo243 Silver badge

    The other question

    Will they ever pay the fine? Perhaps, from a rainy day fund. That amount won't be missed. In fact, I believe that the interest on their rainy day fund would pay that fine off quite quickly.

  14. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Big Brother

    "Unauthorised data scraping is unacceptable and against our rules..."

    Unauthorised? That's an interesting way of putting it. Suggests that there is an authorised way... which probably involves paying them money, at a guess.

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