Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, is threatening to pull both of those social media platforms out of the European market if the EU continues to push for ant-trust and other investigations against it. Specifically, it is concerned over the possibility of new regulations that would interfere with how the company sends and shares data in and out of Europe with other parts of the world.
Just last month Meta was fined millions in France for what the country said was how Facebook’s failure to uphold its policies on cookies.
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Meta is most concerned with new regulations being proposed in the EU that would affect how Facebook and Instagram do business. The company said that the new laws would “materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.” It could be blocked from mining all that personal data collected from users to sell to third parties for advertising and market research.
The EU has a problem with how Meta/Facebook/Instagram operates Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs). SCCs, under EU regulations, are contractual clauses ensuring appropriate data protection safeguards can be used as a ground for data transfers from the EU to non EU member nations. This includes model contract clauses – so-called standard contractual clauses (SCCs) – that have been “pre-approved” by the European Commission. So Meta would need to get the EU to approve any of its moves in this area and the company does not want that to happen.
In a statement Meta’s Facebook warned that, “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs (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.”
A Meta spokesperson told CNBC that it does not wish to take such a drastic step with Facebook and Instagram saying, “the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organizations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the U.S. in order to operate global services.”
And that is obviously not the only reason. Who cannot live without Facebook and Instagram? Such a move would be like Meta cutting off its nose to spite its face. TikTok would simply make out like a bandit in the absence of Instagram and some other company would come up with a new social platform to replace Facebook. So, it is not clear what Meta is thinking right now.