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Meta could face EU sanctions over Instagram's handling of children's data

Instagram logo on OnePlus 9
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The EU appears to be nearing a decision on a complaint filed against Instagram's handling of children's data.
  • The decision could come as early as the end of August or the first week of September.
  • An investigation into the matter was launched by the Irish Data Protection Commission in 2020.

The European Union may release its final decision on whether Instagram violated children's privacy in the region by letting them create business accounts, according to TechCrunch (opens in new tab).

Meta's photo and video sharing platform faced a probe (opens in new tab) by Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) in 2020 for processing children's personal data. The investigation stemmed from a complaint filed by a U.S.-based data scientist who found out that Instagram was allowing users under the age of 18 to change their profiles into business accounts, making their contact information publicly available by default.

The DPC’s deputy commissioner, Graham Doyle, told TechCrunch that a final decision will be made by "the end of the last week in August or the first week in September."

It remains unclear whether Instagram will be found to be in violation of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, Meta may face a hefty fine if Instagram is found to have violated the bloc's privacy laws.

The DPC's probe has largely focused on whether Meta (then Facebook) has obeyed GDPR standards and made sure to protect children's privacy. Meanwhile, in the United States, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn proposed earlier this year a bill that seeks to provide additional safeguards for minor users by giving them more control over the personal information they provide to various social media platforms when they sign up.

In the EU, the DPC has the mandate to levy fines on any entity that violates privacy policies in the region. It conducted its inquiry on its own volition even though the complaint was originally filed by a third-party individual.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.