Facebook and Instagram may be closed offline in Europe this summer. An Irish watchdog has ruled that parent company Meta cannot share data from Europeans with the United States. If EU regulators agree to this, social media platforms will no longer be usable with us.
The dispute is the result of a drawn-out legal battle between privacy activists and the US technology giant. In 2020, the European Court of Justice annulled the existing agreement on data flows between the United States and the European Union.
In March, parent company Meta said that in the absence of a new framework for transatlantic data transmission, it “would not be able to offer its core products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”
The European Union and the United States are currently negotiating a new text that would allow companies like Meta to make transatlantic data transfers, regardless of the Irish ruling. In March, European regulators already reached an interim political agreement with Washington. But negotiations over the legal details reached an impasse. A final agreement is unlikely before the end of this year.
A spokesman for Ireland’s Data Protection Commission confirmed that they sent the ban order to European regulators last Thursday. They are expected to take a position on this decision next month.
A Meta spokesperson said: “This draft decision, which is under review by European data protection authorities, relates to a conflict between European and US law that is currently being resolved.” Politico† “We are pleased with the agreement between the United States and Europe on a legal framework that allows for continued cross-border data transfer. We expect this framework will enable us to keep families, communities, and economies connected.”
Facebook has more than 300 million daily active users in Europe, which is more than 10 percent of all users worldwide. There is a higher percentage of Instagram users in Europe, where they account for more than a quarter of all users.
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