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Meta Platforms Inc. threatened to expel Facebook and Instagram from Europe if it could not continue to transfer user data back to the US.
European regulators are currently working on a regulation of how European data is transferred across the Atlantic, following an earlier agreement with the U.S. Security Service. issued by the European Court of Justice in July 2020 that it is invalid.
In its annual report published Thursday, Meta said that if it did not rely on new or existing agreements – such as so-called standard contract clauses – to change the details, “it would probably not be able to offer our value”. The most important products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe. ”
While it is unlikely that Meta will withdraw its leading products from one of its most lucrative markets, its response highlights the growing tensions between the communications platform company and lawmakers over user data ownership.
The European Commission has said talks with Washington are tense, but “take time to consider the complexity of the issues discussed and the need to find a balance between privacy and national security,” a spokesman for the Commission said in a statement to Bloomberg on Monday.
“Only a provision that fully complements the requirements set by the EU tribunal can bring the stability and legal certainty that participants expect from both sides of the Atlantic,” a spokesman said.
In August 2020, the Irish security agency ruled that the company’s use of standard contract clauses to process European data violated the GDPR and should be suspended. The final decision should be made in the first half of this year.
Data protection authorities are increasingly considering these types of additional security measures that have allowed companies to send data back and forth without a new agreement, according to Patrick Van Eecke, a partner and head of cyber and data at law firm Cooley LLP.
“I’m not surprised that companies outside Europe are re-evaluating whether it makes sense to continue to provide services in the European market as there are not many things left,” Van Eecke said.
This is not the first time Facebook has threatened to shut down its services. In 2020 it said it planned to prevent Australian people and publishers from sharing news, in an effort to backtrack against a proposed law that would force the company to pay media companies for their articles.