Mark Zuckerberg’s empire threatens to shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe. A decision that would have serious consequences for all parties.
Can Meta really do without the European market? In any case, this is the latent threat hanging over users on the old continent. In a 134-page document filed with the SEC, the American regulator in charge of financial markets, Mark Zuckerberg’s company believes that if no agreement is quickly reached to regulate the exchange of data between Europe and the United States United, Facebook and Instagram could simply disappear from our green lands.
Why does Facebook question its presence in Europe?
At issue in this case, several tools used by Facebook and a good number of GAFAM for the transatlantic data transfer. Regarding one in particular — the Privacy Shield — Meta states: “This transfer framework that we relied on for data transferred from the European Union to the United States was invalidated in July 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)”. Other protocols have not yet been challenged by the European Union, but are currently the subject of a “regulatory and judicial review”. Something to worry about Facebook.
While a first European decision is expected by June, Meta now believes that if no data transfer agreement is found thereafter, the group would see itself “probably” in L’impossibility of offering its services in Europe. Pending a response from the regulators concerned, GAFAM are now calling for an approach “proportionate and pragmatic to minimize disruption to the thousands of businesses”.
It must be said that if Facebook and Google have a lot to lose in the case, the most impacted could be small businesses, which would no longer be able to use American cloud servers (and vice versa). In a blog post, the Mountain View firm also urged Europe to create a new framework for data transfers between Europe and the United States. Note that the threat is not new, and even looks like a chestnut tree: in 2020 already, Mark Zuckerberg had brandished the idea of a European boycott after a showdown between his company and the Irish CNIL.