Meta threatens to withdraw Facebook and Instagram in Europe.

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.

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