Mark Zuckerberg's firm Meta (formerly Facebook) has been slapped with an astronomical £228million fine by an Irish watchdog.
The fine follows an inquiry into a massive data leak between May 2018 and September 2019, when an estimated 533 million Facebook users' private data (including phone numbers) reportedly leaked online.
Ireland's Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC), which currently has 13 ongoing inquiries into Meta, issued fines against the firm for its role in processing the leaked data.
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The inquiries followed reports that Facebook had not properly protected its platform from data 'scraping'. Meta has not confirmed whether it will appeal the decision, but said in a statement that "unauthorized data scraping is unacceptable and against our rules".
It's the fourth fine issued against Meta by Ireland's Data Privacy Commissioner watchdog. In September, the firm's Instagram subsidiary was hit with a record fine of €405m Euros (£350m), which the firm plans to appeal.
Meanwhile, in March, the watchdog fined Meta €17.8m (£15.3m) for its role in a series of 2018 data breaches which reportedly exposed the information of 30 million Facebook users.
A similar fine worth millions of pounds was also issued against WhatsApp last September by data protection authorities.
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Last month, Mark Zuckerberg's net worth took a huge hit after the stock market value of Meta plummeted.
Shares in the tech giant lost more than 24% of their value in a single day, due to a drop in advertising revenue as well as the company's loss-making 'metaverse' project.
The challenges currently facing Meta mirror those across the wider tech industry, with cryptocurrencies crashing in value, tech stocks struggling, and firms like Twitter having to deal with disruptive buy-outs from the likes of Elon Musk.
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