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Facebook receives a record fine under GDPR for user data concerns. Credit: Unsplash

Facebook’s owner, Meta, has been fined €1.2billion (£1 billion) by Ireland’s data watchdog for mishandling user data when sharing it across the EU and US.

The fine is a record punishment for breaking general data protection regulation.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has said that Meta must move all the data back to the EU or delete it.

The company has been ordered to suspend sharing user data from the EU to the US.

Meta has five months to correct the problem.

The commission found that Meta had infringed data protection by continuing to transfer EU data to the US despite a prior court ruling that said the information must be protected.

It said that the data transferred by Meta “did not address the risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms of data subjects that were identified by the [court of justice] in its judgment”.

Meta said they would appeal the ruling, calling it “unjustified and unnecessary.”

This only affects Facebook, not Instagram or WhatsApp, which Meta also owns.

Sir Nick Clegg, Meta president of global affairs, and Jennifer Newstead, chief legal officer, wrote in a blog on Monday that Meta was “singled out,” by the commission.

“We are disappointed to have been singled out when using the same legal mechanism as thousands of other companies looking to provide services in Europe.

“This decision is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for countless other companies transferring data between the EU and US,” Clegg and Newstead added.

The decision doesn’t affect data transfers from the UK.

The previous record holder for fines issued under GDPR was Amazon, when it was fined €746m (£599m) by regulators in Luxembourg in 2021.