Meta may consider shutting down Facebook and Instagram in Europe if it can’t keep transferring user data back to the U.S., the social media giant said in its annual report last Thursday.

What’s the news: In the report, Facebook said: “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs (standard contractual clauses) or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”

Flashback: In July 2020, the European Court of Justice struck down the Privacy Shield, which is the existing data transfer arrangement between the U.S. and EU, on the basis that it doesn’t adequately protect European citizens’ privacy, according to Fortune.

What European officials said: European lawmaker Axel Voss said on Twitter, “I have always called for an alternative to the EU US privacy shield to find a balanced agreement on data exchange,” he said. “However, META cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards, leaving the EU would be their loss.”

While others, like Germany’s new economy minister Robert Habeck, think life will be better without Meta, according to Euronews.

  • “After I was hacked I have lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years and life has been fantastic,” said Habeck on Monday.
  • His colleague, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, concurred: “I can confirm that life would be very good without Facebook and that we would live very well without Facebook”.
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What Meta said: According to CNBC, a Meta spokesperson said that the company has no plans to withdraw from Europe and has raised the same concerns in previous filings.

  • “But the simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organizations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the U.S. in order to operate global services,” they said.
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