The Irish authority is the lead watchdog for some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms including Meta which have set up their European headquarters in Ireland. The probes followed complaints in 2018 against Facebook and Instagram which challenged Meta’s new rules requiring users to accept the new ‘contract’ terms if they wanted to access the services.
Wednesday’s decision follows a binding order by the European Data Protection Board, the EU body overseeing national data watchdogs, laying out which way the Irish regulator’s final decision concerning Meta’s units should go.
Meta said Wednesday that there’s been a lack of regulatory clarity about the legal basis companies should use for certain adverts and that it “strongly disagrees” with the Irish authority’s findings and will appeal.
“These decisions do not prevent targeted or personalized advertising on our platform,” Meta said in an emailed statement. “The decisions relate only to which legal basis Meta uses when offering certain advertising.”
Data watchdogs in Europe saw their powers increased overnight in May 2018, when the GDPR took effect, which gave them the power to levy fines of as much as 4% of a company’s annual sales. The biggest penalties under GDPR so far have been a record €746 million fine for Amazon.com Inc. by Luxembourg regulators, followed by a €405 million fine for Instagram, and a €265 million fine for Meta for failing to prevent a data leak.