Meta could shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe

For many it could be hopeful news, for others less: social networks Facebook and Instagram could close in Europe. It would be great news for those who are fed up with the world of social media, who even if born with benevolent purposes today in many respects can be considered almost a bad thing because for the managers of these platforms now only money counts, because they have become data capture services of the people who use them and why they have become more a means to let off steam than anything else. And it is no coincidence that the issue that could turn off the services owned by Meta (formerly Facebook) in Europe, such as Facebook and Instagram, is precisely the management of user data.

As reported by Bloombergin its annual report published Thursday and destined for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Meta states that in the absence of agreements or standard contractual clauses (Standard Contractual Clauses) that allow it to move user data from its servers in Europe to its own in the States United then probably will not be able to “to offer some of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.” In fact, the most recent rules in the EU require companies to manage European user data on servers located in Europe.

Translated, the full paragraph of the document follows:
“We are also subject to evolving laws and regulations that determine whether, how and under what circumstances we may transfer, process and / or receive certain data that is critical to our operations, including data shared between the countries or territories in which we operate and data shared between our products and services. For example, in 2016 the European Union and the United States agreed on a framework for the transfer of data transferred from the European Union to the United States, called the Privacy Shield, but the Privacy Shield was invalidated in July 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In addition, the other bases that Meta relies on to transfer such data, such as the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC), have been subjected to regulatory and judicial scrutiny. For example , the CJEU considered the validity of the SCCs as a basis for transferring user data from the European Union to the United States following an appeal lodged by Irish Data P rotection Commission (IDPC). Although the CJEU confirmed the validity of the SCCs in July 2020, our continued reliance on the SCCs will be subject to future regulatory considerations. In particular, in August 2020, we received a preliminary draft decision from the IDPC which preliminarily concluded that Meta Platforms Ireland’s entrustment to the SCCs regarding European user data does not achieve GDPR compliance and preliminarily proposed that such transfers of user data from the European Union to the United States should therefore be suspended. Meta Platforms Ireland challenged procedural aspects of this IDPC investigation in a judicial review initiated in the Irish High Court in September 2020. In May 2021, the court dismissed Meta Platforms Ireland’s procedural appeals and the investigation was subsequently resumed. We believe that a final decision in this investigation can be made as early as the first half of 2022. If a new transatlantic data transfer agreement is not adopted and we will not be able to continue to rely on SCCs or other alternative means of transfer of data from Europe to the United States, it is likely that we will not be able to offer some of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and on the results of operations. In addition, we have handled investigations and lawsuits in Europe, India and other jurisdictions regarding the August 2016 update to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and the sharing of certain data with other Meta products and services, including a lawsuit currently pending before the Supreme Court of India, and has also been the subject of government investigations and lawsuits regarding the 2021 update of WhatsApp’s terms of service and privacy policy. If we are unable to transfer data between countries and territories in which we operate, or if we are prohibited from sharing data between our products and services, this may affect our ability to provide our services, the way we provide our services. or our ability to target ads, which could adversely affect our financial results. “

From what we learn from the note in the document, it seems that the fate of Facebook, Instagram and other Meta services in the countries of the European Union will greatly depend on how the ongoing investigation into the reliance that Meta Platforms Ireland makes to the clauses ends. contractual standards to be able to transfer user data from the European Union to the United States, which may not be compliant with the GDPR. Survey that should be completed “in the first half of 2022”.

As a reminder, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the new general regulation on data protection in force in the European Union since 25 May 2018 and requires companies that operate online for greater transparency regarding the use of data of the people who use their services. One of the most common fruits that followed the GDPR is the information banner that can appear on the websites we visit, in which permission is asked to be able to use cookies to track one’s online activity for different types of purposes (marketing, statistics, etc)..

Leave a Comment