Facebook’s WhatsApp was fined a record €225 million (US$266 million) by the Irish data protection regulator on Thursday, September 2, after the EU privacy watchdog pressured Ireland to raise the penalty for the company’s privacy breaches.
WhatsApp said the fine was “entirely disproportionate” and that it would appeal. Still, the Irish fine is significantly less than the record $886.6 million euro fine meted out to Amazon by the Luxembourg privacy agency in July.
Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems, who has taken on Facebook in several privacy cases, said the initial fine was €50 million.
Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC), the lead data privacy regulator for Facebook within the European Union, said the issues related to whether WhatsApp conformed in 2018 with EU data rules about transparency.
“This includes information provided to data subjects about the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies,” the Irish regulator said in a statement.
A WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement the issues in question related to policies in place in 2018 and the company had provided comprehensive information.
“We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate,” the spokesperson said.
Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.