Get the Latest News Updates

Google and Meta are subject to South Korean record fines for privacy infringement.

South Korea has imposed the highest-ever data protection fines on Google and Meta, totaling more than $71 million, for illegally collecting users’ personal information for targeted advertisements, officials announced on Wednesday.

According to the Personal Information Protection Commission, investigations into the two US IT behemoths revealed that they had been “gathering and analysing” information on their users and keeping tabs on how they were using their websites and applications.

It said that neither Google nor Meta had clearly disclosed this practise to South Korean consumers or gotten their prior agreement. Instead, it claimed that the data was used to “infer the users’ interests or used for customised online adverts”.

Google and Meta each received fines of 69.2 billion won ($49.7 million) and 30.8 billion won ($22.1 million), respectively.

The commission declared in a statement that the fine was “the greatest for a violation of the Personal Information Protection Act.”

Regulators claimed that the majority of South Korean users — 82% for Google and 98% for Meta — had unintentionally permitted companies to collect information about their internet behaviour.

The statement stated that “it may be said that the probability and risk of infringing on users’ rights are significant.”

For abusing its control in the mobile operating system and app marketplaces last year, South Korea fined Google about $180 million, claiming it was undermining market competition.

Massive US technology giants are frequently criticised for edging away competitors to dominate markets, and numerous governments throughout the world are working to curb them in.The European Union has targeted Apple and Microsoft in addition to punishing Google with historically high antitrust fines.