Man do Europeans have it good.
Buried in Meta’s dense annual report for the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed Thursday, is a surprisingly stark sentence laying out a scenario in which The Company Formerly Known as Facebook might have to entirely stop operating Instagram and Facebook in Europe. Yep, no Instagram, no Facebook, for all Europeans.
To which we as Americans can only say: Luckyyyyyyyyyy!!!!
At issue are European data regulations that prevent Meta from ingesting Europeans’ data on American servers. Basically, Meta says the ability to process user data in between countries is crucial for its business both operationally and for ad targeting. European laws meant to protect user privacy by keeping users’ data within the EU’s jurisdiction have invalidated previous systems. So, because the EU and the U.S. have been unable to reach new data sharing agreements, Meta said it might have to walk away from the continent with Facebook and Instagram.
“If we are unable to transfer data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are restricted from sharing data among our products and services, it could affect our ability to provide our services, the manner in which we provide our services or our ability to target ads,” the statement reads. Then, Meta clarifies that it thinks it will be able to reach new agreements in 2022, but if it does not, “we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”