Meta threatens to take Facebook offline in Europe and gets cold response

Menlo Park, California - Meta is threatening to drop its services in Europe over a data-protection spat with the EU.

Zuckerberg and the EU don't see eye-to-eye on data privacy regulations.
Zuckerberg and the EU don't see eye-to-eye on data privacy regulations.  © Collage: IMAGO / Xinhua, Panthermedia

In a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook's parent company Meta said that if the European Union won't allow the company to transfer user data to US-based servers, the tech giant may have to pull the plug on its products in the EU.

The problem for Meta is that a data transfer agreement between the US and the EU is still in the works, after the previous pact was ended in 2020.

Without an agreement that gives Meta permission to move EU citizens' user data to Stateside servers, the company is threatening to take Facebook and Instagram offline for the European market.

According to a Meta spokesperson's emailed statement obtained by 9To5Mac, "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."

As long as data transfer isn't possible, Meta is arguing the situation will "materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations" – which basically means less money.

The response to this warning is probably not what the company was aiming for. German Economy Minister Robert Habeck shrugged and said "life has been fantastic" without Facebook while France's Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire agreed, echoing that "we would live very well without Facebook."

Facebook and Instagram have a track record of hurting users, which is probably what the two politicians were alluding to.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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