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Meta Threatens To Pull Facebook And Instagram From Europe

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Meta has threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from Europe.

Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said he would be shutting down the two social media arms in Europe over regulations aimed at hampering the apps’ data harvesting.

According to report by CityAM, Meta buried the warning in a report for the Securities and Exchange Commission filed last week.

Why Meta may shut down Facebook, Instagram in EU:

Meta processes data of users of its subsidiaries like Facebook and Instagram from various countries on American servers instead of those in those countries.

Also, it processes its data across the US and Europe. The company says that this is crucial to the way that its business operates.

However, the European Union has enacted rules that seek to prevent Facebook and Instagram from transferring data of their users in Europe to America for processing.

Under new rules, all tech giants in Europe, including Meta must process users’ data on servers in Europe.

The EU said the new rules are to protect the Europeans’ privacy by ensuring that big tech companies don’t process their data beyond the boundaries of the continent.

However, Meta, in the report, condemned the EU rules that seeks to prevent it from processing data of Europeans on American servers.

The key issue for Meta is an issue surrounding transatlantic data transfers.

Without the ability to transfer, store and process that data across the Atlantic, Meta said it may be forced to shut down core services in Europe.

Brits and other citizens of EU countries will no longer access Facebook and Instagram if Meta follows through with the threat.

Meanwhile, Meta said it would allow the platforms to run in Europe if the European Union relaxes the rules on data processing.

It said if the EU fails to relax the rules, the platforms will “probably” no longer be able to offer its “most significant products and services” in the EU.

Also, Meta is demanding that it is allowed to continue using the transatlantic data transfer framework called Privacy Shield.

That’s the legal basis the company used to carry out data transfers until it was invalidated in July 2020 by new laws designed to protect Europeans’ data.

Meta clarifies that it thinks it will be able to reach new agreements in 2022.

However, it says that if new agreements cannot be reached, it may be forced to pull services from Europe.

The chances that the company will follow through with the threat, however, are slim – as Europe is one of its biggest and most profitable markets.

The comments most likely amount to the company throwing its weight around in the face of regulation that will impede its data collection, which is its primary model for generating revenue.

Meta’s Nick Clegg said:

“We urge regulators to adopt a proportionate and pragmatic approach to minimise disruption to the many thousands of businesses.

He continued saying the many “businesses who, like Facebook, have been relying on these mechanisms in good faith to transfer data in a safe and secure way.”

In a statement, a Meta spokesperson said:

“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.

“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.”

Other companies have also warned of the impact of these EU rules, including Siemens, SAP, Telefonica Deutschland, Allianz and GSK.

It comes after a tough few weeks for the beleaguered tech giant.

It emerged last week that Facebook had lost users for the first time in its 18-year history, hinting that its status as the world’s biggest social media app is under threat.

The platform’s parent company, Meta, on Wednesday delivered a gloomy mix of a sharper-than-expected drop in profit, a decrease in users and threats to its ad business that plunged shares some 22 per cent in after-hours trading.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg blamed the meteoric rise of rival service TikTok on Facebook’s apparent stagnation.


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