For about a year now, Instagram has had to withstand onslaught after onslaught, as it has continuously been attacked, summoned to Congress, criticized and even fined, due to the way it affects teenagers and children. Well, today a new fine fell on the photography social network.
According to information from The Verge, the Irish Data Protection Commission has just fined Instagram in the amount of €405 MILLION ($402,000 MILLION) after it was discovered that it mishandled personal information of teenagers, in the European country.
There are 2 specific reasons for this fine: the first is that Instagram would have allowed minors to convert their account into a Business account, which meant that their information became public. Young people often do this because a Business account offers expanded metrics. The second reason is that some of these minor accounts seem to have been placed as public by default, rather than private. In theory, social networks should take care that the information of minors is as private as possible, for their safety.
In an interview with Politico, Meta confirmed that it does not agree with the conclusions of this investigation, as a spokesperson assured that these are based on old unsecured configurations, which have already been corrected:
“This consultation focused on old settings that we updated more than a year ago, and we have since released many new features to help keep teens safe and their private information,” a Meta spokesperson said. “Anyone under the age of 18 automatically has their account set to private when they join Instagram, so only people they know can see what they post, and adults can’t message teens who don’t follow them. We engaged fully with the Data Protection Commission throughout their investigation and are carefully reviewing their final decision.”
If it proceeds, this would be the highest fine that the Data Protection Commission has imposed on Meta in history. So far, the first place is occupied by a fine to Whatsapp in 2021 for € 225 MILLION ($267 MILLION at that time), for not clearly informing users how it collected and used their data.
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