EU data laws force Facebook to shutdown in Europe. Meta Platforms Inc has informed the SEC that it may be compelled to shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe if it cannot find a solution for transferring data from European users to the United States.
“In August 2020, we received a preliminary draft decision from the Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC) that preliminarily concluded that Meta Platforms Ireland’s reliance on Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) in respect of European user data does not achieve compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and preliminarily proposed that such transfers of user data from the European Union to the United States should therefore be suspended. We believe a final decision in this inquiry may issue as early as the first half of 2022. If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs 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.”
-Meta’s most recent SEC update
Could Facebook and Instagram really be shut down in Europe?
Facebook is planning to shut down the European versions of the social media platforms if it can’t transfer user data back to the United States, according to CNBC.
The news comes as a result of a complaint filed by Maximilian Schrems, an Austrian resident who opposed the transfer of personal information between Europe and the United States. Despite being thrown out by Irish courts, Schrems appealed to the High Court. The complaint was referred to the Luxembourg Court, which is the supreme body of European Justice.
Meta has clarified its position in a statement: “We have no desire or plans to withdraw from Europe, but the simple reality is that Meta, and many other companies, organizations and services, depend on data transfers between the EU and the US to operate global services.”
“Like other companies, we have followed European standards and relied on Standard Contractual Clauses, and appropriate data safeguards, to operate a global service.”
The decision says that the transfer of personal data between the European Union and the United States may not be done using the present system. This implies that if Meta does not modify its user information handling procedure, Facebook and Instagram’s days in Europe could be numbered.
However, according to European data privacy law, the United States does not provide adequate safeguards for users’ personal information on the continent.
In a letter to the SEC, Zuckerberg’s firm warned about the ramifications of the Schrems II ruling, in which it stated that “if a new transatlantic data transfer framework isn’t established and we can’t continue to use ECCs or other alternative means of transferring data from Europe to the United States, it’s very probable that we won’t be able to provide many of our most crucial products and services, including Facebook and Instagram.”
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