MARK Zuckerberg has threatened to shut down Facebook, and Instagram in Europe if need be. Currently, Meta processes its data across the US and Europe.
Meta says its processing of data across continents is crucial for its business — both operationally and for ad targeting. However, Europe’s new laws require users’ data to be kept (and processed) on Europe’s servers only.
Meta has been unable to comply with the new European rules. Since Meta has been unable to comply with the new data-sharing agreements, it says that it will no longer be able to offer significant services in Europe, including Instagram and Facebook.
In the report submitted to Securities and Exchange Commission, Meta suggests that if the company fails to comply with the new EU regulations, it will simply stop providing its Facebook and Instagram services within the union.
“If we are unable to transfer data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are restricted from sharing data among our products and services, it could affect our ability to provide our services, the manner in which we provide our services or our ability to target ads,” the statement reads.
Then, Meta clarifies that it thinks it will be able to reach new agreements in 2022, but if it does not, “we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”
Last week’s financial report suggests that Facebook and Meta are having a hard time. Meta’s stock plummeted by 25% after the company lost daily active users for the first time in its history. This means the company is likely just trying to put itself in a more beneficial negotiation position instead of actually planning on actually acting up on its threats.
It remains to be seen what Meta and European regulators do with the situation, but with the statement, Meta has sent its threat message to the lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Meta refutes the characterization of its disclosure as a “threat,” and has clarified that making the SEC aware of the scenario was not an indication of future business plans.
“We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe, but the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organisations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate global services,” Dina El-Kassaby, Meta Policy Communications Manager, said.
“Like other companies, we have followed European rules and rely on Standard Contractual Clauses, and appropriate data safeguards, to operate a global service.
“Fundamentally, businesses need clear, global rules to protect transatlantic data flows over the long term, and like more than 70 other companies across a wide range of industries, we are closely monitoring the potential impact on our European operations as these developments progress.”