Will Meta pull Facebook and Instagram from Europe?

Summary

Meta has once again threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from Europe. This will happen if Meta will be unable to keep transferring user data back to the US. The circumstances under which Meta could continue to transfer data to US-based servers are two. First, if it will be allowed to use its Standard Contractual Clauses. Second, in case the EU and US will soon formalize a data transfer agreement. However, none of this is likely to happen. 

K-J 1

  • While US officials speak positively about finding a data transfer solution, EU officials are sceptical. This is because of the US national security laws and the Intelligence Community’s (IC) ability to access personal data. [source]
  • It is unlikely that the US and the EU will conclude an agreement on data transfer soon especially because of US official’s reluctance to change the law that obliges providers to grant access of personal data to US authorities. [source]

K-J 2

It is highly unlikely that the US and EU will conclude an agreement on data transferring in the next 12 months.

  • In 2020, after the Privacy Shield judgment, the EU Commission and the US Government started negotiations to conclude a new agreement. Businesses are looking to the EU and the US Department of Commerce to finalise the new agreement. [source]
  • While US officials speak positively about finding a data transfer solution, EU officials are sceptical. Because of the US national security laws and the Intelligence Community’s (IC) ability to access personal data. [source]
  • It is unlikely that the US and the EU will conclude an agreement on data transfer soon, especially because of US official’s reluctance to change the law that obliges providers to grant access of personal data to US authorities. [source]

K-J 3

It is likely that META will withdraw some of its services in the EU in the next 12 months.

  • Meta threatened again to pull Facebook and Instagram from Europe. This will happen if Meta will be unable to keep transferring user data back to the US. [source]
  • The circumstances under which Meta could be prevented to transfer data to EU-based servers are two. First, the highly likely possibility that the Irish authority will find the Standard Contractual Clauses used by Meta to be unlawful. Second, in case the EU and US will not formalize a data transfer agreement soon.
  • Meta said that if it cannot rely on new or existing agreements (SCCs), then it would “likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”  Therefore, it is likely that Meta will withdraw some of its services from Europe. [source]

Arianna Sparviero
Arianna Sparviero
Arianna Sparviero is a graduate student at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She is currently enrolled in the first year of the master course in International Affairs.

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