Meta is now threatening Europe with a possible shutdown of both Facebook and Instagram if it can’t keep transferring user data back to the U.S.
The company could soon find itself unable to transfer data between Europe and the US and so opt to no longer operate on the continent, it warned.
The warning came as part of Meta’s annual report, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, in which it lays out the current situation of the business – including any threats it could face in the near future.
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In a statement Meta run by Mark Zuckerberg that “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on [Standard Contractual Clauses] or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.”
In a Twitter statement, one of the fathers of the General Data Protection Regulation Axel Voss who is also a European lawmaker has responded to Meta saying “Meta cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards, leaving the EU would be their loss.”
I have always called for an alternative to the EU US #privacyshield to find a balanced agreement on data exchange + always called for #GDPR flexibility. However, #META cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards, leaving the EU would be their loss.
— Axel Voss MdEP (@AxelVossMdEP) February 7, 2022
Marketwatch also reported:
Meta Platforms Inc. has said it is considering pulling the plug on Facebook and Instagram in Europe.
The threat centers on European regulators’ plans to craft new legislation that will dictate how EU citizens’ user data gets transferred across the Atlantic.
Meta’s warning sent its stock FB, which cratered to a 52-week low after reporting earnings fraught with danger last week, down 5% in trading Monday.
A Meta spokesperson said the company has no intention to withdraw from Europe, but merely raising concerns it has shared in previous filings.
“We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe, but the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organizations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the U.S. in order to operate global services,” the spokesperson told MarketWatch in an email message.
The issue has percolated since July 2020, when the European Court of Justice ruled the data transfer standard between the U.S. and EU does not adequately protect European citizens’ privacy.
Ireland’s Protection Commission sent Facebook a preliminary order to stop transferring user data from the EU to the U.S. in August 2020, according to a Wall Street Journal report. A final decision is expected in the first half of 2022.