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Meta says data regulations may cause Facebook, Instagram shutdown in Europe

CEO of Meta Mark Zuckerberg has threatened to shut down his social media sites Facebook and Instagram in Europe if data transit to American servers is not allowed.

The parent company of Facebook published a statement in its annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission denouncing the laws and regulations of European authorities prohibiting the corporation from storing European data on American servers for security concerns. In its annual results report, Meta slammed European courts and legislative authorities stating that European regulations would have an impact on its ‘critical operations’ and the firm would close down in the entire area.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ostensibly the toughest privacy and security regulation in the world, sets a set of requirements on foreign organisations that target or collect data about EU people. If Meta diverts EU consumer data to overseas US servers, the GDPR law would slap a hefty fee on the company for breaking its privacy and security requirements. Penalties might go into the tens of millions of euros.

The regulation, which is an extension of the European Data Protection Directive, protects the information of European clients who commit their personal data to cloud services in order to prevent data breaches. After a Google user sued Meta, then known as Facebook, for reading emails without permission in 2006, the EU proclaimed that it required a comprehensive strategy on personal data protection, and work had begun to update the 1995 directive. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2016 and was approved by the European Parliament on May 25, 2018.

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In its recently-filed financial statement in February, Meta threatened Europe with the removal of all of its services, claiming that the strict compliance with European data legislation has hampered its operations, apps, and services across data centres. After the European Court of Justice ruled invalid a US statute Privacy Shield, a framework that enables Meta to undertake data transfer operations, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded angrily to the EU’s policies.

The Data Protection Commission advised Meta that such data transfers from the European Union to the United States ‘cannot in practice be used’, while Meta highlighted the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) in a blog post. ‘We will continue to transfer data in compliance with the recent CJEU ruling and until we receive further guidance’, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had stressed.

The Commission subsequently gave Meta a preliminary order suspending any such data transfers to the United States with immediate effect connected to customers in the European Union, as originally reported by the Wall Street Journal.


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