Zachary Davis 2022-02-07 09:25

Meta May Shut Down Instagram and Facebook in Europe. Seriously?

European users are just as hooked on Instagram and Facebook as American, Indian, or Japanese. But soon, as Meta states, they may be deprived of their favorite social media. It’s being discussed now because of major disagreement between Meta and European regulators insisting that the company should keep user data in European data centers.

According to the laws of the EU, personal data of European users should be stored and processed solely in data centers that are located in Europe and subject to European jurisdiction. This question arises only now because previously there were agreements between the EU and the USA, but now it appears inconsistent with the current European regulation.

In its turn, Meta publishes its report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission where it states that if the problem isn’t solved, Facebook and Instagram (and maybe WhatsApp) will have to quit operating in Europe, which means also the end of providing its services within the EU. For Facebook, it will be a tough act but not devastating: it’s been banned in China since 2009 which didn’t prevent global success and billions of revenue.

These reports don’t have to be published, but Meta decided to do it nevertheless. This step can be aimed at two parties: at American authorities, so they try to make an agreement with Europe to not let the rivals root down, and at European regulators which risk now losing Facebook and Instagram completely. This can have unpredictable consequences, from mass protests to Chinese social media taking over if Europe doesn’t generate its own powerful alternatives. The latter, though, is rather a scarecrow perspective to make sides react.

Do you think Meta is serious about quitting Europe? And how can European citizens live through Facebook abstinence? Say what you think about it in the comments, but don’t panic.

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