Meta Responds to Facebook and Instagram Shutdown Rumor in Europe
“Meta could close Facebook and Instagram in Europe” : this is the rumor that caused a lot of ink to flow at the beginning of the week. But Meta has just made it clear that it has no intention of shutting down its services in Europe. Don’t worry for now, EU users may well continue to use Facebook and Instagram.
The press reported that we were “threatening” to leave Europe due to uncertainty reveals the mechanisms of data transfer between the EU and the United States. That’s not true, says Markus Reinisch, vice president for public policy in Europe.
What is the origin of this rumor?
Any part of Meta’s uncertainties mentioned in its annual report submitted to the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) at the beginning of February: “It will probably be impossible for us to provide some of our most important products and services in Europe, including Facebook and Instagram”. But for Meta, it was not a threat of closing its services in Europe but rather a risk assessment concerning the problem linked to data transfers between the EU and the United States.
Like all listed companies, we are legally required to disclose material risks to our investors, justifies Markus Reinisch.
Meta facing difficulty with European law
The problem: transfers of personal data of users from the European Union to the United States. This subject has become a real problem for Meta, following the invalidation of the Privacy Shield by European justice in 2020, this agreement which has governed data transfers between the EU and the United States since 2016.
Since then, uncertainty reigns around data transfer mechanisms, and future decisions of the DPC (Data Protection Commission) could well impact data transfers between these 2 regions of the world.
Along with 70 other European and US companies, we identify business risk resulting from uncertainty reducing international data transfers, says Meta.
A regulatory framework required by Meta
Meta demands that a clear regulatory framework be finally put in place by the authorities concerned: “Companies in all sectors need clear global rules to protect transatlantic data flows over the long term. » More concretely, Mark Zuckerberg’s group wants negotiations to progress to find an alternative to the Privacy Shield. Is a new agreement possible? Case to follow.