Because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Facebook and Instagram may permanently quit the European Union.
Facebook parent Meta has threatened to exit the European market if it cannot negotiate a long-term agreement that exempts it from specific provisions of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Those assertions were made in Meta’s annual letter to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which detailed an ongoing dispute between the firm and different European regulators over the transfer of customer data to and from the European Union. (Meta, of course, is based in the United States.)
According to the company, “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs or rely on 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 the past, Meta (or Facebook, as it was known) has threatened users with a similar threat. In 2020, when it appeared that the Irish data regulator would prohibit transatlantic data flows, the corporation made identical claims to those made now.
“It is not clear… how, in those circumstances, [Facebook] could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU,” Facebook lawyer Yvonne Cunnane argued. “If [Facebook] were subject to a complete suspension of the transfer of users’ data to the United States,” Facebook lawyer Yvonne Cunnane argued.
As Meta points out, leaving Europe would be highly detrimental to the company’s operations and would most likely be a last resort for the organization. “Meta has no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe,” the company stated in an interview with City AM. “However, the simple reality is that Meta, along with a large number of other businesses, organizations, and services, relies on data transfers between the EU and the United States to operate global services.”
As you might expect, European legislators were unimpressed, which may have been a little harsh given that Meta informed the SEC as part of its general fiduciary obligations to investors.