eta Platforms Inc. has threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram out of Europe if it is unable to continue transferring user data to the United States.
European regulators are currently reworking regulations on how European data is transferred across the Atlantic, after the previous privacy agreement with the United States was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in July 2020.
In its annual report released Thursday, Meta said that if it could not rely on new or existing agreements — such as standard contractual clauses — to move data, it would “probably be unable to offer a number of our most important products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.
While Meta is unlikely to pull its flagship products from one of its most lucrative markets, its response highlights growing tension between the social media company and lawmakers over ownership of user data.
The European Commission said negotiations with Washington have intensified, but are “taking time also given the complexity of the issues discussed and the need to strike a balance between privacy and national security”, it said. a Commission spokesperson wrote in a statement to Bloomberg on Monday.
“Only an arrangement fully compliant with the requirements set by the EU Court can provide the stability and legal certainty that stakeholders expect on both sides of the Atlantic,” the spokesperson added.
In August 2020, the Irish data protection agency ruled that a company’s use of standard contractual clauses to process EU data breached GDPR and should be suspended. A final decision is expected in the first half of this year.
According to Patrick Van Eecke, partner and head of cybersecurity and data at law firm Cooley LLP, data protection authorities are increasingly looking at these kinds of additional security measures that have allowed companies to exchange data. in the absence of a new agreement.
“I am not surprised that companies outside of Europe are wondering whether or not it makes sense to continue to offer services in the European market, because there are not many options left,” said Van Eecke. .
This is not the first time that Facebook has threatened to ban its services. In 2020, he said he planned to block people and publishers in Australia from sharing information, in a bid to fend off a bill requiring the company to pay media companies for their stories.