Facebook, Instagram: Mark Zuckerberg threatening to shut down social media platforms

Mark Zuckerberg has threatened to shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe as a result of new data-gathering legislation.

Mark Zuckerberg threatens to shut down Facebook and Instagram from Europe
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Mark Zuckerberg threatens to shut down Facebook and Instagram from Europe

Reportedly, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, hid a new data harvesting warning in a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week. The Silicon Valley titan criticised EU regulations that will restrict it from digesting Europeans' data on American servers in it. Meta said it may be forced to shut down essential services in Europe if it can't move, store, or process data across the Atlantic.

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According to Meta's study, unless European data rules are loosened the business will likely be unable to offer Facebook and Instagram. If the business decides to carry out the threat, British citizens may be barred from using Facebook and Instagram.

Data transfers and personal data

Meta's primary concern is a problem with transatlantic data transfers. Meta now handles data in the United States and Europe, which is critical to the way it does business. However, under the new restrictions, Meta may be obliged to process that data on European servers. The regulations aim to protect Europeans' privacy by ensuring that personal data is not processed outside of Europe's borders. Meta is requesting that it be allowed to continue using the Privacy Shield transatlantic data transmission mechanism. Meta’s Nick Clegg requested:

We urge regulators to adopt a proportionate and pragmatic approach to minimise disruption to the many thousands of businesses who, like Facebook, have been relying on these mechanisms in good faith to transfer data in a safe and secure way.

That was the legal basis on which the corporation conducted data transfers until it was overturned in July 2020 by new rules aimed at protecting Europeans' personal data. It is expected that the Meta and Europe will reach new agreements in 2022. However, if new agreements cannot be achieved, it may be compelled to withdraw services from Europe.

Bleak chances

The company's odds of carrying out the threat are slim, given that Europe is one of its largest and most profitable areas. The comments are most likely the firm flexing its muscles in the face of regulations that may stifle its data collecting, which is its principal source of revenue. A Meta spokesperson confirmed in a statement:

We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe, but the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organisations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate global services.

It follows a difficult few weeks of struggling for Meta. Last week, it was discovered that Facebook has lost users for the first time in its 18-year history, potentially jeopardising its status as the world's most popular social networking platform.

Facebook and social media apps are slowly returning after major global outage Facebook and social media apps are slowly returning after major global outage