Meta sets the record straight, has no desire to leave Europe

Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo
Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo (Image credit: Android Central)

Update, Feb 9 (6:15 p.m. ET): Meta doesn't plan to leave Europe

What you need to know

  • Meta has warned in an SEC filing that it could pull Facebook and Instagram from Europe if it isn't allowed to transfer user data from the European Union to the U.S.
  • A ruling by the EU Court of Justice in July 2020 voided the U.S. Privacy Shield, which allowed American companies like Meta to collect and transfer data of EU subjects.
  • Meta says the new limitations on transatlantic data transfers would have an adverse effect on its advertising business.

Meta has "warned" in its 2021 annual report submitted with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it may not be able to continue offering Facebook and Instagram in Europe if it can no longer move data of its users from Europe to the U.S. (via Bloomberg).

Until July 2020, Facebook and other American tech giants like Google could transfer the data of EU subjects to U.S. servers under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. However, the U.S. law was invalidated by the EU's Court of Justice, which claimed that it didn't provide adequate safeguards to EU subjects.

Additionally, other legal frameworks that Meta relies upon to move data between its European and U.S. servers, such as the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), have also been subjected to regulatory scrutiny. A draft decision by the Irish Data Protection Commission in August 2020 concluded that the social networking giant's reliance on SCCs to transfer data of European users is not in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It also proposed that such transfers of user data from the European Union to the U.S. be suspended. A final decision on the matter is expected to arrive sometime in the first half of 2022.

Meta says if a new transatlantic data transfer isn't adopted or if it cannot rely on SCCs or other alternative means of data transfers from the EU to the U.S., its advertising business would be "adversely affected."

It remains to be seen if Meta's "threat" will force European regulators to change their stance on SCCs, but the tech giant may not actually stop offering its services in the old continent. Earlier this month, Facebook reported a dip in its daily active users for the very first time. While the service had 1.93 billion daily active users in Q3 2021, the number dropped to 1.929 billion in the fourth quarter.

Update, Feb 9 (6:15 p.m. ET) ― Meta clarifies its stance

Following reports that it was threatening to leave Europe, Meta explained this week that this was not the case and that the company was pointing out the risks posed by the European Union invalidating Privacy Shield.

"We have absolutely no desire to withdraw from Europe; of course we don't," Meta stated in a blog post. "But the simple reality is that Meta, like many other businesses, organisations and services, relies on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate our global services."

"We're not alone. At least 70 other companies across a wide range of industries, including ten European businesses, have also raised the risks around data transfers in their earnings filings."

Meta says that it continues to monitor the potential impact to millions of people that may be caused by the friction between the United States and European Union privacy protection laws.

Babu Mohan
News Writer
  • I, along with many others, would like to see Meta shutdown completely once-and-for-all!
  • Hell yeah!
    I was just about to post that I wish they'd shut it down in Canada, lol.
  • While i am not a fan of Facebook, it is useful and there is not really anything out there that is the same, unless we all go back to Myspace.
  • This. I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water as I find Facebook groups a valuable platform for communities. I just discovered their admin assistant tool which is incredibly helpful. But now as a company, they are trying too hard to chase money at the cost of protecting users and providing accurate information. It makes it very hard to wish them well in these disputes.
  • Don't worry, get rid of facebook's community forums and others will take their place. Currently there are a few others, one is neighborhood. But these community forums are just a way of complaining about your neighbors in hiding vs. face-to-face as used in the old days.
  • Or now that the world is opening up. People can meet for breakfast instead of posting pictures about it.
  • I wish it was true but it's just the usual ******** bullying from Wokebook.
  • There's nothing "woke" about Zuck and the Faceboomers lol.
  • The only thing on Facebook is full of is conservatives whining about everything. Whining about masks, whining about vaccines, whining about non-existent election fraud, whining about anything to do with race, whining about non-existent CRT in schools, whining about everything.
  • You aint lying bro. The conservative party has become a full on subversive organization bent on the destruction of the Constitution. Maybe their sanity will return in time but I'm doubtful of that.
  • You just described the far left psychopats that pulls the Senile Joe puppet's strings.
  • Yes because the left is so much better with there mask mandates that they don't follow or cry about statues,fly people in the middle of the night because you know they are so transparent.Up here in Boston we were snowplowing all wrong we were genderizing the way we snow plowed the streets so we have to do better. Talk about whining take a deep look at your side also.
  • If you're a sheep, that is usually the case because it's beyond your comprehension of logic and understand.
  • Obviously your so far to the left that you lost your grip on reality.
  • Oh! It's just whining of the Zucki-bich! I wished they'd follow through with their "threat". Europeans would be better off for sure!
  • Shut it all down everywhere.
  • Woohoo! Best news ever! If it happens...
  • Would love to zucker punch him to the undeniable rag king once it starts toppling down in every corner of the world 😉
  • Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! Threatening to shut down Facebook is not a threat, is a gift.
  • Can we have a street party if it is pulled? A very evil empire
  • Europe will be better off with that cesspool. Nobody will miss conservatives whining about the pandemic, elections, Trump, and misinformation.
  • Think twice, Stalin.
    If you think you'll be able to spew your leftist sh*t without the help of Facebook and the other Big Tech commies, you're in for a disappointment.
  • If that comment isn't textbook TDS, nothing is. 🤣
  • I shall now enumerate all the negatives of having Comrade Zuckerbot and his cancerous "Meta" company withdrawing from Europe:
  • They haven't got the 'nads.
  • It's ironic to me that Zuckerberg kicked his best friend out of the business because his friend wanted to run ads, and Mark didn't.
  • That's like "threatening" to end external hemorrhoids. The horror.
  • Zuck raises our hopes and then dashes them again.
    Stuck with the evil F even longer.
  • Pitty. It would have been quite a nice gift to the world, if Facebook...or Meta...or whatever...left not only Europe but the rest of this planet, together with Mark Zuckerberg, on a one way trip to colonize Mars or something...
  • All you out there, B itching about Facebook, and looking forward to its demise, do realize you don't have to use it, right? The exception may be Oculus users, but I don't use those, so I hope your company goes under and your devices are all bricked. See how that goes? I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends that are spread out all over the world. I have not a single friend that I don't know personally in real life. Maybe there are other options, but FaceBook works for this, and everyone is already on that one. Agreeing on coordinating a wholesale shift to something else would be a gigantic cluster. Do I think it is wonderful? Nah. Are parts annoying? Yea. But it serves its purpose.
  • Damn it, Zuck! Don’t tease us with threats you can’t keep.