Author Archives: Anna Lelashvili

Meta faced with €390 million fine for breaching EU privacy rules

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, as well as owner of Instagram and WhatsApp, is the largest social media company in the world. With such power, comes great responsibility. However, Meta is failing to be responsible regarding compliance of their data and privacy policies with GDPR rules. From data breaches to forced consent, Meta has faced many investigations since the establishment of the GDPR in 2018.

Most recently, Meta has been fined €390 million for breaching EU privacy rules. This is the result of two investigations which began in 2018, one regarding Facebook and the other Instagram. Both investigations were prompted by Meta’s terms and conditions for the use of both Facebook and Instagram. Essentially, the complainants claimed that Meta was forcing users to accept and consent to the processing of their data, as users would otherwise be unable to use its services. It was argued that this ‘forced’ consent breached GDPR. 

The result was a €210 million and €180 million fine for both Facebook and Instagram respectively, due to a lack of transparency and contravention of Article 6 of the GDPR which states that processing is lawful if the data subject consented to the processing of their data and if the processing is necessary under certain grounds. As well as that, Meta was given a three-month period to ensure its data processing operations were compliant with EU GDPR laws. Unsurprisingly, Meta plans to appeal the decision and argue that their approach to consent respects GDPR. 

This is not the first fine imposed on Meta by the Irish Data Protection Commission. In November 2022, Meta was fined €265 million for a data breach in which 533 million users’ names, phone numbers and email addresses were published online, of which 1.3 million were from Ireland. The continuous fines that Meta is facing from the Irish Data Protection Commission, which have now accumulated to over €1 billion, will likely prompt users to reflect about the data and ‘consent’ they provide on social media platforms. 

Big Four: Potential Audit and Advisory Split 

The Big Four accounting firm EY are only one step away from restructuring the firm. Their audit and advisory services would be separated as a result of the restructure. All that remains is for the 13,000 EY partners throughout the world to vote in favour of or against the split. It would be the biggest change in the accounting industry in decades

First of all, in case you’re unfamiliar, the Big Four accounting firms are PWC, KPMG, EY, and Deloitte. They are the top accounting firms worldwide, providing tax, consulting and auditing services in over 150 countries. In 2021, they earned a combined worldwide revenue of $167.2 billion. 

EY managers have finally accepted a plan to split their audit and advising businesses after months of discussion about a split in the audit and advisory services. The plan would potentially see the audit division retaining the EY name and the advisory division becoming its own company with a new name. However, it will not be as easy as it may sound. The distribution of the tax division, which is essential to both the audit and consultancy services, is one of the key concerns of the split.

So why are they splitting? The primary goal of the division is to prevent conflicts of interest from limiting the growth of the audit and advisory divisions. This stems from when one division is not allowed to work with the clients of the other division. The split would open up many more potential clients to the new advisory company and would help the advisory sector’s expansion.

A statement released by EY on the 8th of September states: 

“EY leaders have reached the decision to move forward with partner votes to separate into two distinct, multidisciplinary organizations. We expect this phase to continue through the end of the year, with voting expected to begin on a country-by-country basis in late 2022 and conclude in early 2023.”