By John Ikani
Facebook and Instagram may be shut down across Europe, parent company Meta has said.
The social media giant issued the warning in its annual report last Thursday.
It said it may shut down the sites if it cannot keep transferring data back to the US Government.
Regulators in Europe are currently drawing up new legislation that will dictate how EU citizens’ user data gets transferred across the Atlantic.
While it is unlikely that Meta would withdraw its flagship products from one of its most lucrative markets, its response highlights the increasing tension between the social media company and lawmakers over the ownership of user data.
What Facebook is saying
In the statement, Facebook said if a new data sharing framework is not adopted and it is unable to continue to rely on Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) or rely upon other alternative standards of data transfers from EU countries to the US, it will likely be unable to offer a number of other important products and services, including Facebook and Instagram in Europe.
The tech giant said it would materially and adversely affect its business, financial condition and results of its operations.
What the EU is saying
“Meta cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards,” European lawmaker Axel Voss said via Twitter, adding that “leaving the EU would be their loss.”
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It is not the first time Facebook has threatened to ban its services. In 2020 it said it plans to block people and publishers in Australia from sharing news, in an attempt to push back against a proposed law forcing the company to pay media firms for their articles.