Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been fined a record 225 million euros ($267 million) by Ireland’s data watchdog for breaching EU data privacy rules. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said Thursday that WhatsApp did not tell citizens in the European Union enough about what it does with their data. The regulator said WhatsApp failed to tell Europeans how their personal information is collected and used, as well as how WhatsApp shares data with Facebook.
The WhatsApp fine is the largest penalty that the Irish regulator has handed out for violations of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. GDPR requires that companies are clear and up front about how they use customer data. The legislation — approved in April 2016 and enforced since 2018 — replaced a previous law called the Data Protection Directive and is aimed at harmonizing rules across the 28-nation EU bloc. Some critics argue that EU regulators have been too slow to impose the law and issue penalties on Big Tech for failing to comply.