Europe’s Facebook Privacy Probe Close To Finish

The European Union’s Facebook investigations under the bloc’s new privacy laws could wrap up by the end of this year, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday (Aug. 12).

The social media giant could be faced with billions of euros in fines as well as forced to alter some of its business operations.

The EU’s privacy enforcement for Facebook is led by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission since the social platform’s regional headquarters are in Dublin. It has 11 active cases regarding the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, the report said.

Facebook “is in close contact with the Irish Data Protection Commission to ensure we are answering their questions,” a Facebook spokeswoman told the news outlet. She added that Facebook “spent over 18 months working to ensure we comply with the GDPR.”

The Irish Data Protection Commission has already given Facebook final report copies for some cases, and will have the rest by year-end, said Graham Doyle, a spokesman for the regulator. He also said Ireland will pass along some of the draft decisions to the EU’s 27 other national privacy regulators.

The EU investigations come on the heels of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s $5 billion settlement with Facebook over the social giant’s ongoing privacy issues. Facebook was also recently fined $1.1 million by Italy for violating local privacy laws in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Aside from the fines, the Federal Trade Commission settlement will also include new directives on how Facebook can handle the privacy of its users going forward. Facebook was anticipating the fine, and said in April that it was going to have to pay an amount around that number.

The issue will now move to the Justice Department for review, although that’s procedural and usually doesn’t change the outcome.

Facebook isn’t alone in privacy scrutiny. Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said in July that it is in the midst of a third privacy investigation into Apple.

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