Social media application Instagram has been scrutinized by Ireland’s Data Protection Committee (DPC) regarding the processing of data on the platform of children. If Instagram is found to violate privacy laws within the EU, large fines await Facebook, which owns the application.
Instagram under EU review
The review, initiated by the Irish Data Protection Committee, stems from complaints about Instagram business account contact information seen by anyone using the app. Some of the American technology giants’ headquarters in Europe are located in Ireland. DPC is also among the important auditors of the union within the scope of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force in 2018. The organization retains the powers to protect individuals’ online privacy rights and to issue fines.
According to the BBC’s report, the organization will examine whether Facebook has a legal basis for processing children’s personal data at this stage of the research. On the other hand, it will also look at the availability and implementation of adequate protection and restriction filters for children on Instagram. Regardless of all these, whether the application acts in accordance with the GDPR standards regarding account settings will be examined.
Speaking about the research, DPC deputy commissioner Graham Doyle said, “Instagram is a social media platform widely used by children in Ireland and Europe. “DPC monitors complaints from individuals in this area and identifies potential concerns regarding the processing of children’s personal data that require investigation.”
In 2019, data scientist David Stier analyzed the profiles of nearly 200,000 users worldwide and found that these profiles were easily given business account authorization. Instagram business accounts require users’ information such as phone and e-mail to be public. This raises some security concerns.