Messaging platform WhatsApp has been fined €225 million by Ireland’s data regulatory body for violating privacy guidelines.

Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC), the lead data privacy regulator for Facebook within the European Union, said on Thursday that it was related to the social media apps transparency.

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has its EU headquarters in Ireland, and the Irish regulator is the lead authority for the tech giant in Europe.

The European Data Protection Board said it had asked the Irish agency in July to address criticism over delayed decisions involving tech giants and for not fining them enough for breaching the data protection laws.

Reuters reports that WhatsApp disagrees with the decision and the fine. The social media platform plans to appeal.

“WhatsApp is committed to providing a secure and private service,” a company spokesperson told Reuters, “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.”

The fine comes after an investigation which started in 2018 about whether WhatsApp had been transparent enough about how it handles information, if it told its users enough about how their data was processed and if its privacy policies were clear enough.

The WhatsApp fine is the largest fine ever handed out from the Irish Data Protection Commission, and the second-highest under EU GDPR rules after retail giant Amazon was fined €746 million for failing to comply with data processing laws in July.


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