Privacy Plus+

Privacy, Technology and Perspective

Europe to Meta/Facebook: “You want to leave?  Fine. Leave.” Recently, cross-border data transfers under Chapter V of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation of 2018 (GDPR) made headlines as Meta/Facebook (FB) rankled authorities in authorities in Europe by warning in its most recent 10k of a material and adverse impact to its business, financial condition, and results of its operations “[i]f a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on [the Standard Contractual Clauses] or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States…” You can read Meta/Facebook’s filing by clicking on the following link: 

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/0001326801/000132680122000018/0001326801-22-000018-index.html

For background on the issues surrounding cross-border transfers of personal data from Europe to the U.S., you can also click on the following links to some of our previous posts on the subject:

https://www.hoschmorris.com/privacy-plus-news/privacy-plus-the-standard-contractual-clauses-find-safe-harbor

https://www.hoschmorris.com/privacy-plus-news/a-new-way-to-move-data-from-the-eu-to-the-us

Bloomberg News, CNBC, Fox Business, and many other news outlets immediately interpreted the contents of as a bald, public threat from Meta/Facebook that it would leave Europe altogether. Reaction at the highest levels of both the German and French governments was immediate, definitive, aimed directly into Meta/Facebook’s eyes, and icy-cold. Paraphrased, it was: “You want to leave?  Fine. Leave.”

Said Germany’s new economy minister: “After I was hacked I have lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years and life has been fantastic.”

Sitting beside him, the Finance Minister of France added, I can confirm that life would be very good without Facebook and that we would live very well without Facebook.”

You can read more about their reactions here:

https://www.euronews.com/next/2022/02/07/meta-threatens-to-shut-down-facebook-and-instagram-in-europe-over-data-transfer-issues

Meta/Facebook has also responded, stating that it is absolutely not threatening to leave Europe,and explaining that it’s just the continuing “uncertainty [of what rules will apply]” (emphases added) that’s making things so difficult for Meta/Facebook and the rest of the market.  A link to that response follows:

https://about.fb.com/news/2022/02/meta-is-absolutely-not-threatening-to-leave-europe/ 

What will be the outcome of this eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation is uncertain. But authorities in Europe so far seem unpersuaded that the GDPR is the problem. And we hardly suppose that Meta/Facebook will reconcile itself anytime soon with a revelation accompanied by prompt, absolute “certainty” that its business model must be reconstructed from the ground up. 

Hosch & Morris, PLLC is a boutique law firm dedicated to data privacy and protection, cybersecurity, the Internet and technology. Open the Future℠.