Irish regulator investigates Instagram over children’s data

LONDON (AP) — Irish privacy regulators have opened two investigations into Instagram over the social media site’s handling of young people’s personal data.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said it launched the investigations in September after receiving complaints about the company. Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it’s in “close contact” with the commission and is “cooperating with their inquiries.”

The investigations were first reported late Sunday by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which said they came after a U.S. data scientist aired concerns that Instagram made public the email addresses and phone numbers of people under 18. The minimum age to use Instagram is 13.

Data scientist David Stier said last year that his analysis found users, including those under 18, who switched their account types to business accounts also had their contact information displayed on their profile. Users were apparently switching to business accounts in order to see statistics on how

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EU investigates Instagram over children’s data

a group of people looking at a cell phone

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Instagram is being investigated by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) over its handling of children’s personal data on the platform.

The social media app’s owner Facebook could face a large fine if Instagram is found to have broken privacy laws.

The investigations stem from complaints that Instagram made contact information on business accounts publicly visible to anyone accessing the app.

The BBC has approached Facebook for comment.

A number of US tech giants have their European headquarters in Ireland, and the DPC is the lead European Union regulator under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in 2018.

The DPC is responsible for protecting individuals’ right to online privacy, and has the power to issue large fines.

The Irish regulator is investigating whether Facebook has a legal basis for processing children’s personal data and if it employs adequate protections and restrictions on Instagram

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