Data transfer from EU to US: Facebook threatens to leave Europe

It is a blackmail that could well backfire against Facebook: the social network has threatened to stop its activity in the European Union if a decision by the Irish regulator were to be confirmed. Last month, the country’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), which oversees Facebook’s activity on the old continent, ruled on a preliminary injunction prohibiting the company from transferring the data of its European users to American servers. .

Credit: Christopher, CC BY-SA 2.0

In question, la fin du Privacy Shield decided by the EU Court of Justice in mid-July, an agreement between the EU and the United States governing the transfer of data from one zone to another. Facebook thought it could rely on the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC) which were not worried by the European judges in order to continue its small business, but the DPC decided otherwise.

Until the negotiations between the two ends of the Atlantic lead to a new model, Facebook has therefore been prohibited from grinding the information collected in Europe on its servers based in the United States. However, they are the ones who manage the distribution of the group’s targeted advertising. If Facebook refuses to comply, the DPC has the power to impose a fine representing 4% of the company’s worldwide revenue, or around $ 3 billion.

The stakes are obviously high for Facebook, since a European user represented $ 13.21 in average income last year. In these circumstances, the group ” don’t know how […] it could continue to provide Facebook and Instagram services in the EU According to the company’s legal representatives.

Facebook could therefore take its cliques and its slaps and abandon 410 million users to their sad fate … Or perhaps not finally, the social network having demonstrated on multiple occasions that the protection of the private life of its users does not was not at the heart of his concerns, that he takes advantage of hate speech, and that it is a major global vehicle for disinformation and conspiracy theories.

But the economic weight of Facebook’s platforms is such that even a temporary departure would weigh heavily on thousands of European companies: transactions by companies, large and small, which offer their products and services via Facebook and Instagram represented 208 billion euros. dollars in 2019.

Facebook has initiated a lawsuit against the DPC to challenge the judgment of the authority which would show a lack of fairness and would have shown a ” apparent bias Against society. For the moment, there is no question for the social network to pack its bags – which would only be temporary, the time to reconfigure the infrastructures to respect the decision of the regulator.


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