Will Facebook and Instagram shut down in Europe?

It seems unlikely, but there is certainly some posturing going on.

In Meta’s (ex Facebook) annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it warns that if a new framework for international data transfers is not adopted and the company is no longer allowed to use the current model agreements or alternatives, it may no longer be able to offer its services in the Europe.

The key issue is around the ability of US companies to undertake transatlantic transfers of personal data. Meta wants to be able to process the data of EU citizens on servers in the US, but Privacy Shield was deemed invalid almost 18 months ago, and the EU is currently scrutinising Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCC’s”) in the same way.

So why does this matter to us in the UK? Well, we are about to introduce a new data sharing protocol, and it will be interesting to see if Europe’s concerns are echoed in the UK. If the questions contained in the UK consultation on ‘Data: A New Direction’ are any indication, we might end up with a data protection regime which is friendly enough for Meta, but perhaps at the expense of the rights of individuals.