Italy’s competition authority recently imposed a hefty 3.5 million euro fine on global tech giant Meta for its lack of transparency in handling data and managing Instagram and Facebook accounts. The AGCM watchdog accused Meta of engaging in “unfair commercial practices” by failing to inform users promptly about the use of their personal data for commercial purposes. This lack of transparency raised serious concerns about user privacy and data protection.

The watchdog also criticized Meta for its handling of account suspensions on Facebook and Instagram. Meta’s failure to accurately manage the suspension of users’ accounts was deemed as a violation of fair business practices. The watchdog highlighted that Meta did not provide sufficient information to users about the suspension process, including the criteria used for suspension and the avenues for contesting the suspension. This lack of transparency and communication with users added to the negative impact of Meta’s actions.

In response to the investigation and subsequent fine, Meta claimed to have made significant changes to its practices for Italian users. These changes aimed to address the concerns raised by the competition authority regarding transparency and user communication. According to Meta, since August 2023, they have enhanced transparency regarding data usage for advertising on Instagram. Additionally, they have provided more information and options for users to appeal account suspensions, aiming to improve user experience and accountability.

Despite implementing these changes, Meta expressed its disagreement with the competition authority’s decision to fine them. Meta stated that they are assessing their options regarding the fine and the implications it may have on their operations in Italy. This disagreement highlights the ongoing challenges faced by tech companies in balancing user privacy, data protection, and regulatory compliance in different jurisdictions.

The fine imposed by Italy’s competition authority on Meta serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in managing user data and accounts. It also underscores the need for tech companies to prioritize user privacy and comply with regulations to avoid fines and legal repercussions. Moving forward, Meta and other tech giants must continue to enhance their practices and communication with users to build trust and ensure compliance with evolving regulatory standards.


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