The fine levied against Meta is the largest fine ever handed down in the EU for a breach of the bloc's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), surpassing the €746 million fine imposed on Amazon in 2021. 

The DPC has also ordered Meta to suspend the transfer of Facebook users' data to the US from the EU. 

Meta has five months to comply with the suspension. 

Meta has also been given six months to cease the unlawful processing, including storage, of European users' personal data that was transferred to the US in violation of GDPR. 

The decision relates only to Facebook and does not apply to Meta's other social media platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp. 

The DPC's ruling comes after Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems launched a legal challenge claiming that EU users' data is not sufficiently protected from US authorities when it is transferred to the US. 

The DPC's subsequent investigation found that Meta infringed GDPR by continuing to transfer user data to the US despite a ruling from the European Court of Justice requiring strong protection of user information. 

The Irish data watchdog said Meta transferred data to the US using a measure called standard contractual clauses which "did not address the risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms of data subjects."

Meta said in a statement on Monday that it is appealing the decision.

"Today, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has set out its findings into Meta’s use of this common legal instrument to transfer Facebook user data between the EU and the US," Nick Clegg, Meta's President, Global Affairs and Jennifer Newstead, Meta's Chief Legal Officer, said in a statement.

"Despite acknowledging we had acted in good faith and that a fine was unjustified, the DPC was overruled at the last minute by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB).

"We are appealing these decisions and will immediately seek a stay with the courts who can pause the implementation deadlines, given the harm that these orders would cause, including to the millions of people who use Facebook every day."

In 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that US authorities were spying on social media users, sparking concerns about EU users' data protection. 

The European Court of Justice has since invalidated the "privacy shield" data transfer agreement that existed between the US and the EU. A new data transfer framework has recently been agreed between the EU and the US and is expected to be implemented later this year.

Last November, Meta announced that it would be reducing the size of its global workforce “by about 13%” and that “more than 11,000 of our talented employees” would be let go.