Facebook and Instagram are in a very difficult situation and under terrible pressure because of the way they operate in Europe, and the Meta giant is seriously flirting with the possibility of pulling out of the old continent if authorities insist on moving their servers for European users to Europe.
Because of privacy concerns, Facebook and Instagram have a limited timeframe in which they can remedy the problem of European citizens’ private data stored on US servers. In just two months, they must make a decision to either shut down their services in Europe or stop sending data overseas.
What’s happening to Facebook and Instagram in Europe
Europe’s privacy regulators group, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), will issue a binding decision on a case examining data transfers from Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and Instagram to the United States by April 14, a spokesman told POLITICO on Tuesday.
Ahead of that deadline, Meta has warned that it could be forced to shut down its European operations entirely, leaving us without Facebook, Instagram and possibly WhatsApp, if European regulators deem it illegal to transfer data between continents.
In theory, a new transatlantic agreement on data transfer is in the works and should be nailed down before summer arrives. But it may be too late then, as the Mark Zuckerberg-led giant meanwhile remains without a legal basis to transfer the data it holds on Europeans.
At its root, this was sparked by a complaint filed by privacy activist Max Schrems in 2013. In July 2022, the Irish Data Protection Commission first proposed banning Meta from using a legal tool known as “standard contractual clauses” to send users’ data to the US. The decision came after the EU’s highest court struck down an EU-US data agreement called Privacy Shield, saying it did not sufficiently protect EU citizens’ data from access by US authorities, according to Mediafax.