Facebook and Instagram may be shut down across Europe, parent company Meta has said.
The issue comes down to European data regulations that prevent Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, from transferring, storing and processing Europeans’ data on US-based servers.
Earlier this week, two EU officials – Robert Habeck (German Economy Minister) and Bruno Le Maire (French Finance Minister) commented on Meta’s annual report and the possibility of Facebook and Instagram being shut down across the EU. The pair were straightforward that Meta needs to abide the new EU regulations or else its social media platforms would be banned across Europe.
Like many relationship stalemates, this particular one isn’t likely to end with the dissolution of the union. But the incident does reveal the extent of Meta’s precarious political position outside the U.S. and why that can damage more than just Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s coffers.
Now, U.S. and E.U. regulators have for months been trying to negotiate a new agreement for data flows across the Atlantic.
Meta believes a lot is riding on the deal. The company said in its annual report that if it can no longer rely on its standard contract clauses, or the European Union and the United States don’t come up with a new agreement, then it may have to pull Facebook and Instagram from Europe.
Meta’s VP of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, argues that this would be detrimental to a lot of businesses in the EU that rely on the services and ads the company provides.
Last week’s financial report sent Meta’s stock plummeting by 25% after the company lost daily active users for the first time in its history. This means the company is likely just trying to put itself in a more beneficial negotiation position instead of actually planning on actually acting up on its threats.