Meta threatens EU Facebook & Instagram shutdown over data transfer row

Meta threatens EU Facebook & Instagram shutdown over data transfer row

by Pranali Mehta

Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in the firm’s annual report, has reportedly threatened to completely shut down Facebook and Instagram across Europe if the firm is not allowed to transfer, store, and process data of its European users to its US-based servers.

Transatlantic data transfer is regulated by the Privacy Shield and other model agreements which are, or were used by Meta to store data of European users on American servers. These current agreements that allow data transfers are presently coming under heavy scrutiny across the European Union.

Meta, in its annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, warned that unless a new framework is adopted, allowing it to use the current or alternative model agreements, it will not be able to offer many of its significant products and services such as Facebook and Instagram in the EU.

Meta has stressed that sharing of data between countries and regions is critical to provide its services and targeted advertising, which is why it used Privacy Shield as its legal basis for carrying out data transfers.

However, the treaty was annulled in 2020 by the European Court of Justice due to a violation of data protection, following which the US and the EU have started working upon a new and updated version of the treaty.

Meta also uses other ‘model’ agreements, also called ‘Standard Contractual Clauses’, that are also facing scrutiny in Brussels as well as other parts of Europe.

In a statement, Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs and Communications, Meta, warned that the lack of secure, safe, and legal transfers of EU data over international waters could damage the region’s economy and extensively hamper the growth of local data-driven businesses, at a time where everyone is recovering from the Covid-19 slump.

Clegg added that while policymakers were working towards a long-term and sustainable solution, the firm urges them to take a proportionate and pragmatic approach so that businesses like Facebook suffer minimal disruption in transferring data safely and securely.

Back in in 2020, the IDPC (Irish Data Protection Commission) had provisionally concluded that the use of the purported model agreements was out of line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with its final verdict expected to be published by the first half of 2022.

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Pranali Mehta

A chemical engineer by qualification, Pranali Mehta dutifully walked down the slated path and worked in a chemical firm for a year. Her passion for writing however, pushed her into experimenting with the same as a career. With over three years of experience in content writ Read more...