On Thursday, the Irish data protection authority imposed a fine of $266 million on WhatsApp, the largest in its history, after pressure from the European Union's privacy watchdog to increase the size of the privacy violation penalty against the application.

Those in charge of "WhatsApp" confirmed that the fine imposed on them is "completely disproportionate" to the charges against the application, and that they will appeal the case.

Reuters quoted social media activist Max Shrems as saying that the initial fine was about $59 million, before it was increased.

Ireland's Data Privacy Commission, which is responsible for regulating Facebook's data privacy in the European Union, said the issues were related to whether the app complied with 2018 EU rules on transparency.

"This includes information provided to data subjects regarding the processing of information between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies," the commission added.

A spokesman for "WhatsApp" confirmed that the issues related to the fine are related to the policies in force in 2018, and said that the company provided comprehensive information in this regard.

The European Data Protection Council stressed the need to give WhatsApp 3 months instead of 6 months to comply with the sanctions imposed on it.

According to the specialized Irish regulatory authorities, last July the European Data Protection Council issued clear instructions to re-evaluate and increase the proposed fine on WhatsApp.

In May, the German privacy watchdog issued an emergency order preventing Facebook from collecting data on WhatsApp users (Shutterstock)

It is noteworthy that the German privacy watchdog, last May, issued an emergency order preventing Facebook, the owner of the “WhatsApp” application, from collecting data on WhatsApp users, due to concern that the updated policy of the application violates strict European data protection rules.

Last January, WhatsApp announced a new update to its terms of service, which sparked controversy among many of its users around the world.

Many users have downloaded alternative apps such as Signal and Telegram, fearing that the new terms will affect privacy.

Users' concerns included "the right to read messages and deliver information to Facebook," while Facebook launched an advertising campaign explaining that the new terms focus on a set of features that allow users to send messages to businesses via the app.

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