The owner of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook has been slapped with a record fine of €1.2bn (£1.04bn) by the Irish data protection regulator.

It’s the biggest fine ever levied for breach of the general data protection regulations (GDPR).

Meta has incurred the fine for transferring EU citizens data to the United States for processing, despite a 2020 verdict handed down by the highest EU court saying the data was insufficiently protected from US spying agencies.

Facebook has been ordered to halt the practice and has been given at least five moths to comply. Instagram and WhatsApp are not subject to the order.

The issue has been ongoing for a decade after privacy activist Max Schrems instigated legal proceedings in 2013 against Facebook, as the company was called at the time.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) in Ireland has jurisdiction over Meta, effectively operating as the EU privacy regulator, as Meta’s European headquarters are in Dublin.

Meta said it would appeal the decision and there would be no disruption in service. It said the fine was “unjustified and unnecessary”.

Prior to Monday’s fine, the largest penalty EU regulators handed out was €746m to Amazon in 2021.

A new pact is been worked on between the EU and US to facilitate data sharing.

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