Ireland’s data protection authority slapped WhatsApp with a €5.5 million fine. The Meta subsidiary is accused of illegally processing personal data.

Earlier this month, Meta was fined €390 million for years of GDPR violations. The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) ruled that Meta used an illegal basis to process the personal data of Instagram and Facebook users in personalized ads.

Under the GDPR, a basis is a lawful reason for processing personal data. The DPC disagreed with the basis used by Meta over the past few years. We covered the case in an extensive article.

Subsidiary WhatsApp is next in line for a slap on the wrist. The organization was fined €5.5 million for a similar violation. WhatsApp processes personal data to improve services, among other things. The company currently does not always have the right to do so, according to the DPC.

In addition to the fine, the DPC ordered WhatsApp to adjust its processing in accordance with the GDPR within six months. A company spokesperson said that WhatsApp plans to appeal. The organization denies the allegations.

Meta under pressure

Meta’s European headquarters are located in Ireland. As such, the DPC is responsible for investigations of alleged GDPR violations.

Meta is under pressure from multiple European regulators. In addition to the DPC, the tech giant recently clashed with the European Commission. The regulator accused Meta of abuse of power. Brussels warned that possible fines could amount to billions of euros.

Like Meta, Microsoft, Google and other tech giants are struggling with European regulation. The Digital Markets Act entered into force in November 2022. The European Commission introduced the act to crack down on tech giants faster and harder.