Meta is taking seriously the possibility of leaving the European market because of the EU data-sharing law in force. The owner of Facebook and Instagram may not be able to continue providing services without data transfer between countries and regions. This is the first such harsh statement from Zuckerberg on this issue, which may come as a surprise to many online users.
The controversial news appears in Meta’s annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Company representatives paint in it a black scenario in which Facebook and Instagram would have to shut down for Europeans. This is closely tied to European “Personal Data Circulation” laws. They allow information about European platform users to be taken and sent to U.S. servers.
Meta has long had a problem with this and has criticized the EU. Zuckerberg’s company says the ability to process data is critical to its business. This applies to both operational issues and the ad targeting itself, on which Facebook and Instagram make money. A new EU law nullified the systems previously used, so Meta can’t always enter into data-sharing agreements.
The report itself states:
If we are unable to transfer data between the countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are unable to share data between our products and services, it has an impact on our ability to provide our services, how we provide our services or our ability to drive ads.
The same report indicated that Meta plans to sign contracts in 2022, but if that fails, it probably won’t be able to offer its services in Europe. From many people’s perspective, the absence of Facebook and Instagram may even be good news, yet many companies rely on advertising aired on these sites to sell their products. For this reason, though, Meta’s exit from the European market will be problematic.