Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has been fined a record $1.3 billion by the European Union for transferring user data to the United States. The fine was imposed by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, and Meta has been given five months to stop transferring users’ data. This is the largest privacy fine in EU history, surpassing the previous record set by Luxembourg on Amazon.com Inc in 2021.
The long-standing issue over where Facebook stores its data began a decade ago when Max Schrems, an Austrian privacy campaigner, brought a legal challenge over the risk of US snooping in light of disclosures by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Meta says it will appeal the ruling and seek a stay of the orders through the courts.
Meta warned that stopping transfers of personal data could force it to suspend Facebook services in Europe. However, it expects a new pact facilitating the safe transfer of EU citizens’ personal data to the United States will be implemented before it has to suspend transfers. Officials have said the new data protection framework, agreed by the European Union and US government in March 2022, may be ready by July, but Meta also cautioned that there is a chance it might not be ready in time.