Meta’s annual report that was released last week has warned it is considering shutting down Facebook and Instagram in Europe, in the event of Europe making more stringent regulations governing how European user data is sent to the US.
What has Meta said?
“If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs (standard contractual clauses) 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,” Meta officials said in the filing.
A Meta spokesperson said the company has no immediate plans to end service in Europe, though it is calling for “clear, global rules to protect transatlantic data flows over the long term.”
“We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe, but the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organizations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate global services,” the Meta spokesperson said.
Back in 2020, the European Court of Justice objected to the current data transfer method between the US and the EU, citing inadequate protections of European users’ privacy. As a result, the court imposed restrictions governing how US-based companies send EU citizens’ data across the Atlantic, given that users are unable to properly challenge US government surveillance.