WhatsApp hit with $266 million fine for violating EU data privacy laws

WhatsApp logo
WhatsApp logo (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp has been ordered to pay a €225 million (about $266 million) fine by Ireland's Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC).
  • The Irish regulator found violations in the way the app processed users' and non-users' data.
  • It has also raised concerns over the way data is shared between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies.

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has been fined €225 million (about $266 million) fine for violating the European Union data protection laws. As reported by Bloomberg, the Irish Data Protection Commission has found violations in the way WhatsApp explained how it processes users' data.

Regulators are also unhappy with the way WhatsApp shares data with other Facebook companies. WhatsApp now has three months to update its privacy policy and bring it into compliance with the provisions of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

WhatsApp says it disagrees with the Irish regulator's decision that the fine is "entirely disproportionate." In a statement sent to Android Central, a WhatsApp spokesperson said:

WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service. We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so. We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate. We will appeal this decision.

The ruling comes less than two months after Amazon was hit with a record $887 million fine by the Luxembourg data protection authority over violation of the GDPR. Google was fined €50 million for a breach of the GDPR by French data regulator CNIL in January 2019. The GDPR law, which was introduced in 2018, gives regulators the power to fine companies up to 4% of their annual sales.

Ireland's Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC) is also examining Facebook and its other subsidiaries for possible violation of EU data privacy laws. Aside from the DPC, Facebook is facing an antitrust probe from the European Commission for abusing its tech market dominance and misusing data from advertisers.

Babu Mohan
News Writer