Facebook's German unit was handed a fine of €51,000 for failing to properly nominate a data protection officer for its local office - a penalty which privacy regulators said should serve as a warning to others.
While the punishment seems tiny for the social network giant, it targets the German unit and not the "billion-dollar parent company", the data protection authority in Hamburg said in its 2019 annual report, published yesterday.
"This case should be a clear warning to all other companies - naming a data protection officer and telling the regulator about it are duties which the data protection authority takes seriously," the watchdog said in the report.
"Even smaller violations like these can lead to substantial penalties."
The Facebook penalty was levied under the European Union's privacy rules, which took effect in May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives EU data protection authorities for the first time powers to fine companies as much as 4pc of global annual sales for the most serious violations of people's personal data.