EU lawmakers unfazed by Meta's threat that it would pull out of Europe

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Meta said that it may have to shut down Facebook and Instagram in Europe over data privacy rules -- and at least two European politicians think that's a good idea.

Credit: Alexandre Lallemand/Unsplash
Credit: Alexandre Lallemand/Unsplash


European regulators are currently working on new legislation that would place restrictions on how EU citizen data gets transferred to the U.S. As a result, Meta issued a veiled threat to pull its social media platforms in Europe during its annual report on Thursday, CNBC has reported.

Two EU politicians, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, said that Europe would do just fine without Facebook and Instagram, according to Bloomberg.

"After being hacked I've lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years and life has been fantastic," said Habeck at an event in Paris on Monday.

"I can confirm that life is very good without Facebook and that we would live very well without Facebook," Le Maire said. "Digital giants must understand that the European continent will resist and affirm its sovereignty."

The pair made the comments in response to Meta's threat. Specifically, Meta wrote that if it can't use existing agreements to shift data back to the U.S., it would "likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services ... in Europe."

Habeck said that the European Union was "such a big internal market with so much economic power that if we act in unity we won't be intimidated by something like this."

A Meta spokesperson, however, told CNBC that the company doesn't currently want or have plans to withdraw from the European market. The spokesperson added that Meta has raised similar data privacy concerns in previous filings.

However, they added that Meta and other companies "rely on data transfers between the EU and the U.S. in order to operate global services."

If the EU regulations preventing data transfer to the U.S. go through, Meta in its annual report said that the change would "materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,759member
    This is a bit laughable.

    Meta should definitely pull out if they can't comply with legislation and then we'd see a scramble for new platforms. It would be a win/win for consumers although I suppose Google would quickly fill any void. 

    If they took WhatsApp with them we'd have even more competition. 

    I say, call their bluff. 

    qwerty52dewmeJaiOh81MplsPAlex_VAnilu_777baconstangmuthuk_vanalingamviclauyycspheric
  • Reply 2 of 33
    I hope Meta pulls out of the US. So many of my friends would actually be more social without it. 
    williamlondonqwerty52dewmeblastdoorJaiOh81Alex_Vbaconstangmuthuk_vanalingamfotoformatviclauyyc
  • Reply 3 of 33
    EU is like, um that's the intent 
    williamlondondewmeaderutterJapheyAlex_VAnilu_777baconstangmuthuk_vanalingamviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 33
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,438member
    I hate EU. I am sick of EU imposing cookie policy notice every time I visit a website. 
     
    williamlondonhpewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 33
    I was thinking Meta could just create a European entity that keeps its data in the EU. Don't know how they would sort out how interactions to/from accounts outside EU get handled, but I imagine they could figure it out.
    Anilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 33
    netrox said:
    I hate EU. I am sick of EU imposing cookie policy notice every time I visit a website. 
     
    That's a very good reason, not at all childish. [rolls eyes]

    There are solutions for that problem.
    djames4242sphericMac4macbeowulfschmidtjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 33
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,346member
    Isn't the EU also pushing for 'backdoors' to E2E encryption? 

    If I'm remembering that correctly, then I don't understand the European perspective on 'data privacy.' 

    Happy to see Zuck sweat, though. 
    tokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 33
    avon b7 said:
    This is a bit laughable.

    Meta should definitely pull out if they can't comply with legislation and then we'd see a scramble for new platforms. It would be a win/win for consumers although I suppose Google would quickly fill any void. 

    If they took WhatsApp with them we'd have even more competition. 

    I say, call their bluff. 

    Go google hangouts!
  • Reply 9 of 33
    bshankbshank Posts: 255member
    Daniel Ek seems to be leading the charge for controversial platforms. Maybe Spotify can do social media and not blame Apple
    for all of the problems they have trying to build a one trick pony business. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 33
    chelinchelin Posts: 110member
    blastdoor said:
    Isn't the EU also pushing for 'backdoors' to E2E encryption? 

    If I'm remembering that correctly, then I don't understand the European perspective on 'data privacy.' 

    Happy to see Zuck sweat, though. 
    No

    https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/09/whats-all-this-about-europe-wanting-crypto-backdoors/
    williamlondonAlex_VAnilu_777viclauyyc
  • Reply 11 of 33
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    Pretty much everyone I know thinks the world would be a better place without Facebook. Hopefully the EU succeeds!
    williamlondonAlex_VAnilu_777baconstangmuthuk_vanalingamfotoformatviclauyycMac4macrotateleftbytecommand_f
  • Reply 12 of 33
    chelinchelin Posts: 110member
    netrox said:
    I hate EU. I am sick of EU imposing cookie policy notice every time I visit a website. 
     
    That’s not only a EU thing it’s the same here in the, or at least in California due to CCPA.
    williamlondoncommand_fnumenoreanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 33
    I was thinking Meta could just create a European entity that keeps its data in the EU. Don't know how they would sort out how interactions to/from accounts outside EU get handled, but I imagine they could figure it out.
    Migrate IG, Facebook and WhatsApp users to Instagram.eu, Facebook.eu, whatsapp.eu domains, maybe? The problem is untangling non-EU users’ interactions with EU citizens. Well, I’m just thinking out loud here, not exactly well-thought out, I know. It sounds complicated.

    I for one welcome a withdrawal of Meta. As a European, it would be a dream come true.
    edited February 2022 Alex_VAnilu_777viclauyyccommand_fnumenoreanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 33
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 879member

    The problem is the EU, and it's "subsidiaries" i.e. countries have found an avenue to just $FINE American Companies willy nilly and nit pick.  Until Apple or whatever American company just says ok no more.

    I honestly say we should just abandon the EU and let them live with just Android and Windows.  Like a FULL 100% pull out.

    edited February 2022 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 33
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    daniPhone said:
    avon b7 said:
    This is a bit laughable.

    Meta should definitely pull out if they can't comply with legislation and then we'd see a scramble for new platforms. It would be a win/win for consumers although I suppose Google would quickly fill any void. 

    If they took WhatsApp with them we'd have even more competition. 

    I say, call their bluff. 

    Go google hangouts!
    They would be dead in the water too. This is the identical move China demanded and Google balked and has been absent from that market. Google is even more dependent on access to that data. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 33
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Meta threatens, the EU replies “do you promise?”

    Other lawmakers will be lining up to do the same thing if it rids them of meta-trash. 

    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 33
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,203member
    I can just see the collective outrage if Facebook and WhatsApp were removed from the EU market.  Facebook, while a tedious medium to many, is still wildly popular. Many people have built their entire lives, businesses, and social networks on the platform. While painful, I have no doubt that Meta could and would do it if they believe their entire business model is threatened. Yanking it unceremoniously from the unwashed masses would prove to be very unpopular, and Meta would make sure everyone knows who is to blame. Obviously, Meta would prefer not to do this. But it's no bluff.
    seanjrezwitswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 33
    Meta issued a response (via Mediaite) which starts with, “We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe

    They threaten, but it WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

    Empty threats.

    Call them on it.

    If they leave, so what, no one will die and life in general will be much better instantly.

    They’re acting like they are more powerful than government, and when companies act like that, it’s time to clip their wings. Anyone remember the “too big to fail” campaign around banks? Think everyone wants to go through that again for a few celebrities and influencers?

    CALL THEIR BLUFF.
    Ofermuthuk_vanalingamcommand_fnumenoreanmaciekskontaktwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 33
    netrox said:
    I hate EU. I am sick of EU imposing cookie policy notice every time I visit a website. 
     
    Agreed, I wonder how many people actually click no?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 33
    Go Zuck, Go!

    Websites could start by removing those hidden (from the user) links back to FB etc. My router blocklist would thank you. Almost every week, I have to add 20-30 more FB and Google, and MS slurp sites to the list.

    maciekskontaktwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
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