Meta threatens to ban Facebook and Instagram in Europe if they can't harvest user data

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The data hungry hoarders at Meta, once Facebook, are throwing a hissy fit. As the company faces revenue loss from human-friendly data laws, the cyborg conglomerate is threatening to remove services from countries it thinks has wronged it.

This move comes after a horrendous, but still profitable year for the Big Tech company. After a huge whistleblowing fiasco, losing billions on Metaverse development and multiple regulator investigations, the company is starting to get antsy.

Will Facebook and Instagram be removed from Europe?

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Reported by City A.M., Meta is threatening to remove two popular social media platforms from the entirety of Europe if they can't continue to harvest user data. If the company goes through with its threats, both Facebook and Instagram will be inaccessible in European regions, sans VPNs.

Hidden in the company's massive FY2021 report, the company explained that its data harvesting activities have been slightly hindered as of late. Specifically, the company criticised regulation of “transatlantic data transfers” that limits storing European user data on American servers.

Meta claims that if the company can't continue to transfer data across regions, it'll “probably” remove “most significant products and services” from Europe. This would include Facebook, Instagram and possibly other platforms like Oculus.

Previously, the company used a framework called Privacy Shield to transfer data across the Atlantic. However, as the European Union continues to add more restrictions to the ways in which companies use data, that process has been hindered.

Read More: $30,000 Metaverse wedding is a laughable look at what the metaverse actually is

Will Meta actually do this?

Many will say that Meta’s attempts to pull its two most popular services from European regions is simple fear mongering. After all, many small businesses rely on the social media platforms and removing access would ultimately kill them. Despite this, Meta is continuing with its (possibly empty) threats.

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Nick Clegg, Meta’s VP of Global Affairs and Communications, the once joint-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, told City A.M.: “a lack of safe, secure and legal international data transfers would damage the economy and hamper the growth of data-driven businesses in the EU... In the worst case scenario, this could mean that a small tech start up in Germany would no longer be able to use a US-based cloud provider.”

However, this statement was then followed up by one from Facebook itself. “We have absolutely no desire and no plans to withdraw from Europe,” the company said. “The simple reality is that Meta, and many other businesses, organisations and services, rely on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate global services.”

The two statements provide a confusing dichotomy, one that reeks of uncertainty. After all, Facebook previously threatened to remove itself from Apple devices over restrictions to data harvesting. To this day, Facebook and Instagram are still on iOS.