Facebook got fined an amount of $277 Million for Leak of Half a Billion Users’ Data
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has levied fines of €265 million ($277 million) against Meta Platforms. The platforms were fined for failing to safeguard the personal data of more than half a billion users of its Facebook service, ramping up privacy enforcement against U.S. tech firms.
The fines follow an inquiry initiated by the European regulator on April 14, 2021, close on the heels of a leak of a “collated dataset of Facebook personal data that had been made available on the internet.
This included the personal information associated with 533 million users of the social media platform, such as their phone numbers, dates of birth, locations, email addresses, gender, marital status, account creation date, and other profile details.
Meta was of the view that the information collected was “old data” obtained by malicious actors by taking advantage of a technique called “phone number enumeration” to scrape users’ public profiles. This entailed misusing a tool called “Contact Importer” to upload a huge list of phone numbers to uncover matches.
Facebook has since removed the ability to use phone numbers to retrieve information via scraping as of August 2019.
Apart from imposing a monetary penalty, the Irish watchdog,also ordered Meta’s Irish unit to make sure its processing complies with the E.U. data protection laws.
To counter such unauthorized data harvesting, the social media giant, late last year, expanded its bug bounty program to reward valid reports of scraping vulnerabilities across its platforms as well as include reports of scraping datasets that are available online.
The development also marks the fourth time Ireland has slapped fines on Meta and its subsidiaries, which also comprises Instagram and WhatsApp.