Breaching of data privacy rules by Instagram

Breaching of data privacy rules by Instagram
Photo by Solen Feyissa via Pixabay


Agori Michopoulou

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) announced that they decided to give a fine of €405 millions to Instagram for the violation of children’s data privacy rules.  It is the first time that the DPC has given a fine of this amount for a breach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. In detail, after an investigation, Ireland's data privacy regulator found out that the social media platform misused teenagers’ personal information by breaching the strict European Union data privacy rules. The alleged violations derive from Instagram’s default account settings for children ages 13-17. According to a Meta spokesperson, the accounts of non-adults users are automatically set to private when they join instagram, but based on the investigations, it was found out that users were switching to business accounts in order to discover how popular their posts are, after Instagram started removing this feature from personal accounts. In that way all their contact information was exposed on their profiles.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) declared that this breach had significant repercussions and a great potential to harm children by using instagram. The fine to instagram is in accordance with the purpose of the Regulation and of the DPC, which is to keep children safer online. 

Sources and Further Reading:

Regulation EU 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation) of the European Parliament and of the Council of Europe of 27 April 2016. Retrieved on September 14, 2022, from

Shiona McCallum and Tom Gerken. (2022, September 5). Instagram fined €405m over children’s data privacy. BBC NEWS. Retrieved on September 14, 2022 from

Ireland fines Instagram €405 million over protection of children’s data. (2022, September 6). Retrieved on September 14, 2022 from