Facebook and Instagram could be SHUT DOWN in Europe – row explodes

Mark Zuckerberg makes ‘Meta’ announcement

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The row has been brewing since Meta released its annual report last week in which it warned it would be unable to run products such as Facebook and Instagram in Europe without a new framework on data transfer. Currently the social media giant transfers European data for processing on US servers, something which is now falling under the scrutiny of EU regulators. A Meta spokesperson said: “We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe, but the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organisations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate global services. “Like other companies, we have followed European rules and rely on Standard Contractual Clauses, and appropriate data safeguards, to operate a global service.”

According to Meta over 70 other companies have raised the risks around data transfers, suggesting this is an issue for a wide range of industries.

European finance ministers have dismissed the reports, but struck a defiant tone.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said: “Digital giants must understand that the European continent will resist and affirm its sovereignty.”

Speaking to reporters in Paris, he added that “life would be very good without Facebook.”

The comments were also echoed by Germany’s new economy minister Robert Habeck who said: “After I was hacked I have lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years and life has been fantastic.”

Writing on Twitter, German MEP Axel Voss warned Meta “cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards, leaving the EU would be their loss.”

Meta has denied it its ‘threatening’ to withdraw services from Europe and has been raising concerns over the legislation for a number of years.

Previously, Meta’s data transfers had been covered by the Privacy Shield framework agreed between the US and the EU, however this was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in 2020.

Since then, the US and EU have been trying to agree a new replacement which would take into account concerns over privacy and surveillance.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently described finalising a new Privacy Shield as a “number one priority” for the Biden administration.

Meta said it was “closely monitoring the potential impact on our European operations as these developments progress”.

Meta has been struggling recently after it revealed Facebook’s number of daily active users had fallen for the first time in history.

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The social media platform has been facing tough competition from rivals such as TikTok and YouTube, particularly for younger users.

Meta’s share price slumped over 20 percent following the news, wiping £147.5bn (£200bn) off its value.

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