Meta warns Europe it might shut down Facebook, Instagram if no data agreement is reached

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Meta Platforms Inc, the company behind social media giants Facebook and Instagram, warned it would consider shutting down the two platforms from the European continent, if it is unable to keep transferring user data back to the United States. A transatlantic data transfer pact was shot down by the European Court of Justice over fears citizens’ data isn’t safe once shipped to the United States.

In a report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Meta said that unless such transfer was possible, then it would “likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”

“We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe, but the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organizations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate global services,” a Meta spokesman told Bloomberg, as tensions between the company and regulators increased.

However, politicians on the European continent were not taken aback by Meta’s comments. “Digital giants must understand that the European continent will resist and affirm its sovereignty,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in Paris on Monday.

The European Commission said data transfer negotiations with Washington have intensified, but they “take time given also the complexity of the issues discussed and the need to strike a balance between privacy and national security,” a commission spokesperson wrote in a statement to Bloomberg on Monday.

“Only an arrangement that is fully compliant with the requirements set by the EU court can deliver the stability and legal certainty stakeholders expect on both sides of the Atlantic,” the spokesperson added.

This was not the first time Facebook has made such public threats. Two years ago, when the Australian Government proposed a law forcing the company to pay media firms for their articles, it had threatened closing off Facebook from Australia.

Read more via Bloomberg.

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