Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has threatened to leave Europe if it can't continue its long-running data harvesting. While the company is still harvesting massive amounts of data, it’s not allowed to move data from Europe into its America-based data farm.
This has led the company to become frustrated with European governments. As the company continues to have its data harvesting methods hindered by governments and platform holders, it’s started grasping at straws. But will the company actually leave Europe?
Facebook will probably get what it wants
Via Insider, Meta is very unlikely to leave Europe in any capacity. While the company is threatening to leave the region, politicians have essentially responded apathetically to the threats. In a recent example, French and German politicians told the company they wouldn't miss them.
Marco Bosher, data privacy lawyer at Noyb, explained that the company is essentially full of empty threats. However, Bosher also explained that this is because Meta will most likely get what they want out of the situation.
Europe’s efforts to keep European citizens’ data inside Europe won't come to fruition due to how America dominated the Internet is. Massive transatlantic data transfers are commonplace, and almost every service uses it.
“[The transfers” are necessary for the whole global economy to work," Bosher said. "A large part of the internet's backbone infrastructure is in the United States, most of the biggest servers are in the United States."
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They could get more European
On the other hand, there is an alternative for Facebook. If European governments do manage to fight the mega-corporation, then the only way the company can survive in the region is by building European data centres.
The company has already announced plans to build a colossal 166-hectare large data centre that will store user data. If the company is stopped from transferring data across the Atlantic, this massive data centre will be able to hold all European users’ data.
As depressing as it is, there really isn't any way to stop a company as massive as Facebook. It's a powerful mega-corporation, one that has often bent rules in order to get its way, including allegedly making deals with governments in exchange to allow political misinformation.
Of course, regulations in recent years have started to chip away at how much data companies have access to. It’s far from perfect, but baby steps are being made to protect users. However, we still have a long way to go.