Meta Threatens Shutdown of Facebook, Instagram in Europe Over Privacy Regulations Dispute

issue centers around transferring user data

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(FOX BUSINESS) – Social media giant Meta Platforms, Inc. has warned that it might be forced to pull “significant” services including Facebook and Instagram from availability in the European Union if the company is unable to continue transferring user data to the U.S., as overseas privacy regulations tighten.

The firm run by Mark Zuckerberg made the revelation in a recent filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying that “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on [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, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.”

Meta was previously able to transfer data from European users and process it on U.S. servers under a transatlantic agreement called Privacy Shield, but that agreement was invalidated by a European Union court in July 2020 and officials from the two governments have not yet hammered out a replacement.

In the meantime, Meta and other firms have been able to use Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) to continue data transfers, but the Irish Data Protection Commission preliminarily determined in August 2020 that Meta’s use of SCCs might also need to be suspended. Meta says it expects a final decision from the regulator early this year.

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