Thomas MacaulaySenior reporter
Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy. Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy.
GDPR turned five this week — and celebrated in customary style: by slapping Meta with another eye-watering fine.
At a record-breaking €1.2bn, the punishment was the perfect self-gift for the EU regulation. For Meta, however, it marks another miserable anniversary.
According to research by Privacy Matters, Mark Zuckerberg’s demonic brainchild has accrued over half of the €4bn in total GDPR fines.
After amassing a staggering €2.5bn across seven separate penalties, it’s safe to say that Meta won’t be attending the birthday party. But it wasn’t likely to have got an invite anyway.
The social media behemoth has been feuding with EU lawmakers for years. On multiple occasions, the company has gone as far as threatening to shut down services in Europe over data rules.
The EU, meanwhile, have been merrily doling out fines for Meta’s data protection breaches. The majority have been delivered by the Data Protection Authority of Ireland, where Meta has its European headquarters. The regulator dished out four fines in 2022 alone.
The Facebook owner is not alone in entering GDPR’s crosshairs — but it’s been by far the most consistent target.
Amazon and Google have combined total fines of around €800 million — a figure dwarfed by Meta’s most recent fine alone. Meanwhile, Microsoft, Apple, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have never been charged.
The penalties have solidified the EU’s reputation as the West’s top tech regulator. For GDPR, that’s another cause for celebration. But for Meta, this birthday party must suck.
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