The future of Facebook and Instagram threatened in Europe

New showdown between the European Union and Meta. Deprived of legal means to transfer data to the United States, Facebook’s parent company is considering cutting its services on the Old Continent.

Towards a summer deprived of Instagram and Facebook? The latest turmoil in the Privacy Shield case could prevent European Internet users from connecting to the various Meta services in the coming months. A withdrawal which would be very expensive for the company and which would complicate the life of many users on the Old Continent.

Countdown fixed at one month

As a reminder, in 2020, the European Court of Justice invalidated the Privacy Shield agreement which authorized the exchange of data between Europe and the United States. This abrogated “digital free trade” agreement, many companies fell back on standard contractual clauses which made it possible not to completely cut the digital bridges between the EU and the United States. But these clauses are legally more fragile than the Privacy Shield and the establishment of a new framework takes time to materialize.

As a result, the Irish Cnil (baptized DPC for Data Protection Commission) could well prohibit the Meta group from repatriating European data to the United States. The DPC considers that the security of the latter is not properly ensured by the standard contractual causes, because of the American surveillance programs. The decision of the Irish Cnil is not anecdotal. Since Facebook’s headquarters are located in the country, the DPC acts as a leader for other European regulatory bodies. The latter have a month to return to the Irish proposal. After this time, a decision will have to be made.

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In the event of strict closure of personal data taps, Facebook could be forced to stop its services on the Old Continent, or find a new way to comply with European legislation. Such a future had already been mentioned by Meta at the start of 2022.. Faced with the American market control body (SEC), the group had explained that “if a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on standard contractual clauses, or other alternative means of transferring data from Europe to the United States, we would probably be unable to offer a number of our most important products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe”.

A legal tussle

Such a cut would be a blow, both for Meta and for Europe. The Old Continent has around 400 million monthly Facebook users. To do without it is to give up on a large part of the company’s income, and this at a time when she’s not at her best. But stopping Instagram and Facebook in Europe would also be a blow to merchants, influencers and other professions who rely on these services to attract customers.

This warning shot from the DPC therefore looks like an ultimate showdown between the European Union and the Meta group. Neither side has much of an incentive to follow through on their threats, but they are wielding their guns anyway. To see who will crack first.

archyde news, your content continues below

archyde news, your content continues below

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