A record fine for Meta will have landmark consequences for marketers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The EU has fined Meta €1.2bn for a breach of data protection laws, the largest such fine on record. The fine was levied as a result of Facebook’s transfer of user data from the EU to servers in the US. Meta, which owns Facebook, was informed in 2020 that its mechanism for transfer was to be banned as a result of fears that US government agencies could access the data. That constitutes a breach of rules governing data transfers to countries outside the bloc – referred to as ‘third countries’ – exacerbated by ongoing privacy concerns related to the Facebook platform.

Arielle Garcia, chief privacy officer at IPG’s media agency UM Worldwide, said: “The fine against Meta will reinvigorate calls for the replacement US-EU transfer framework. Given Meta’s intention to appeal the decision, and the undoubtedly amplified calls for progress on the new cross-border transfer framework during the five- to six-month implementation timeline, no immediate disruption is anticipated.

“It is important for advertisers to recognize that the issue of EU-US transfers is not unique to Meta – as we have seen with the flurry of EU DPA rulings on Google Analytics last year, so the disruption and uncertainty would ultimately not be limited to one platform.”

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