Is Meta’s future murky? EU hits Facebook parent with record €1.2bn fine

Meta receives fifth fine in two years, as marketers question its ‘over-hyped promises of the future’.

Facebook parent Meta has been hit with the biggest fine in GDPR history after violating the rules for sharing data from the EU with the US.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), which regulates Meta across the EU, ordered the company to suspend all transfers of user data to the US in the next five months.

This is the second fine for Meta by the DPC in 2023 alone, the first taking place at the start of the year for €390m split across Facebook and Instagram.

Adam Walker, Global Digital Marketing Lead at Dufry, told PMW: "This fine represents the fifth privacy fine Meta has received from the EU in the last two years.

“Coupled with the platform's skyrocketing cost of media, and their shuttering of metaverse, many larger brands will likely be wondering if it makes sense to plan long-term investment into the platform.”

After announcing 2023 to be a year of ‘efficiency’ beginning with 10,000 job cuts, Zuckerberg was keen to rebut marketers’ dismissals and reiterate Meta’s metaverse commitment.

He said: “A narrative has developed that we are somehow moving away from focusing on the metaverse vision, so I just want to say up front that that’s not accurate. We’ve been focusing on AI and the metaverse, and we will continue to.”

Meta’s Q1 2023 report even revealed the first year-on-year revenue increase in three quarters – potentially due to ad dollars relocating from Twitter – and daily active users across all apps were up 5% year-on-year to three billion.

Despite this, advertisers are shifting their paid social spend towards newer platforms like TikTok. Walker continued on marketer’s concerns for Meta: “With their established audiences at saturation and younger audiences shunning Meta platforms in favour of TikTok, advertisers will be evaluating their shares of advertising spends in platforms and likely moving money away from the likes of Facebook and Instagram.

“This may not be the end for Meta, or even the beginning of the end, but it's certainly a huge period of uncertainty for both the platform and advertisers. For now, all we are seeing is over-hyped promises of the future, with half-baked realities.”