According to Meta’s annual report for the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company may seek to block Instagram and Facebook from operating in the EU.
The issue is due to Meta’s ability to process user data between countries, as EU laws currently protect user privacy by keeping all data within the bloc’s jurisdiction.
Since Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has not entered into a new data-sharing agreement – it threatens in the report to pull the two services from the mainland.
“If we are unable to transfer data between and among the countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are restricted from sharing data between our products and services, this could affect our ability to provide our services, the manner in which we provide our services or our ability to target advertisements,” the statement read.
Meta says it expects to be able to secure new deals in 2022, but if not, “we likely won’t be able to offer a number of our most important products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe”.
Previously, the transatlantic data transfer framework called Privacy Shield was used as a legal basis to make data transfers from continents, but the treaty was struck down by the European Court of Justice in July 2020. This was due to breaches of data protection, but the EU and US have said they will work on a new or updated version of the treaty.
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The vice president of global affairs at Meta, said Nick Clegg CityAM: “We urge regulators to take a proportionate and pragmatic approach to minimize disruption to the thousands of companies that, like Facebook, rely in good faith on these mechanisms to transfer data safely and securely.”
Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s digital intern, follow her on Twitter