Facebook, Apple, Twitter face EU probes for violating data protection rules

Facebook, Apple, Twitter face EU probes for violating data protection rules
Brussels, Belgium (Online): Popular social media site Facebook is facing 10 probes for violating the European Union's (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) over data breaches and users privacy across its platforms.

GDPR reported in its first annual report that the Irish Data Protection Commission opened 15 inquires in relation to multinational technology companies  compliance with GDPR.

Facebook faces seven inquiries while its WhatsApp platform two and Instagram one. Other US tech giants like Apple and Twitter face two statutory inquiries each and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn faces one.

 "All these inquiries should reach the decision and adjudication stage later this year.

"It s our intention that the analysis and conclusions in the context of those inquiries will provide precedents for better implementation of the principles of the GDPR across key aspects of internet and ad tech services," said the DPC report.

"There are undoubtedly areas of risk to be examined in sectors beyond the free internet services but initial complaints and breaches have focused the DPC in this area and warrant attention in light of the hundreds of millions of users implicated," it added.

Since the application of the GDPR, the DPC has seen a significant increase in the number of complaints received. Between May 25 and December 31, 2018, 2,864 complaints were received by the DPC.

While Facebook is being probed over breach of user data, WhatsApp is under the lens for how it handles user privacy and shares information with Facebook.

While one of the probes against Twitter comes after it self-reported a "large number of breaches", the micro-blogging platform is also being probed for how much access users have to their own data, reported ABC News.

Apple is being investigated for transparency issues while LinkedIn is being probed for profiling its users and targeted ads.

The Irish DPC last month warned Facebook over its planned integration of its chat services --WhatsApp, Messenger and photo-sharing app Instagram -- asking the social media giant to provide it with an "urgent briefing" on the proposals.

"While we understand that Facebook's proposal to integrate the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram platforms is at a very early conceptual stage of development, the Irish DPC has asked Facebook Ireland for an urgent briefing on what is being proposed," the watchdog said.