Home Personal Finance Meta fined “unprecedented” $1.3 billion by EU = 17 days of pre-tax...

Meta fined “unprecedented” $1.3 billion by EU = 17 days of pre-tax income, LOL

Meta fined

LOLs keep piling up. Cost of doing business. Nevertheless, Meta came swinging at it.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Meta, owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and whose business model from day one has been collecting and monetizing data on both users and non-users, was fined a record €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) of the EU’s European Data Protection Council for violations by Facebook of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), not primarily for collecting this data, but for transmitting this data from EU residents to the US .

“This fine, the largest ever GDPR fine, was issued for Meta’s transfers of personal data to the US based on Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) since July 16, 2020,” the statement said.

The previous record fine of €746 million ($806 million) was imposed on Amazon in 2021.

LOL#1: “Meta has been instructed to bring its data transfers into compliance with the GDPR within six months,” the regulator announced – meaning it can still collect the personal data of European residents and use their personal data, LOL, but that should stop processing the data in the US.

“The EDPB has determined that Meta IE’s breach is very serious as it involves transfers that are systematic, repetitive and continuous. Facebook has millions of users in Europe, so the amount of personal data transferred is huge. The unprecedented fine is a strong signal to organizations that serious violations have far-reaching consequences,” the statement said.

The decision was the result of an investigation into Facebook by the Irish Data Protection Commission, the regulator that oversees Meta’s activities in Europe. Ireland is home to the European headquarters of Meta, Apple, Twitter and Google thanks to the special tax treatment Ireland has used to lure them there, including a low corporate tax rate of 12.5%.

LOL#2: This massive “unprecedented” fine amount equates to…let’s see…in 2022, Meta had a pre-tax profit of $28.2 billion, or about $77.2 million per calendar day. So the $1.3 billion (pre-tax) penalty would equate to about 17 calendar days of pre-tax earnings.

So two weeks plus Monday through Wednesday of pre-tax income. Not even a slap on the wrist for a company of this size. Only part of the cost of doing business.

LOL#3: Meta came out swinging as you would expect, with a long story about how the internet works and why data transfer is part of it. “This decision is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless other companies that exchange data between the EU and the US,” they said.

“The ability to transfer data across borders is fundamental to the operation of the global open internet. Thousands of companies and other organizations rely on the ability to transfer data between the EU and the US to operate and provide services that people use every day,” they said.

“We will appeal the verdict, including the unjustified and unnecessary fine, and ask for the suspension of the orders through the court,” they said.

And they said all this when the underlying problem is the ubiquitous data collection itself – not where the data is processed. But consumers have known all this for years, and they’re seeing all the warnings popping up on screen in the EU and elsewhere in line with the GDPR, and they’re still using Facebook, though life reportedly works just fine without it. OK, so be it, and let’s take some wrists to show how powerful this arrangement is, LOL#4.

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and do you want to support it? You can donate. I really appreciate it. Click on the beer and iced tea mug to see how:

Would you like to be notified by email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Register here.

Previous articleRyanair returns to profit after expensive add-ons boost sales
Next articleHalf of credit unions are considering merging because costs are skyrocketing