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Meta clarifies stance on pulling Facebook and WhatsApp out of Europe

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

By Pranav Shrivastava

Earlier this week, on what could’ve been one of the largest pulls or exits of a company from

Europe over GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation: EU law on data protection and

privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area) & strenuous

regulations that encompass the European Union, left the whole of the internet on the edge of their seats, as Meta (erstwhile The Facebook Company) in its Annual 10-K filing (report

filed annually by a publicly-traded company about its financial performance in the

USA) to US Regulators wrote “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted

... we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services,

including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe.”

Tensions escalated further as French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire reportedly clapped back at Meta's "threat" by saying they would be okay with Facebook not having a presence in Europe. However, the latter US giant was quick enough to post a retaliation, with Meta Europe’s Public Policy VP, Markus Reinisch saying that the company is absolutely not threatening to leave Europe, rather they’re trying to identify & evaluate a business risk resulting from uncertainty around international data transfers.

On the same day, Meta's Oversight Board advised the social network goliath to change its policy regarding the accessibility of a person's address, even if it is considered "publicly available". The exception allows a person's address to be made public through news coverage, court filings, press releases, or other sources. The recommendation was made due to concerns about harms resulting from doxing. Meta is not required to force the recommendations, but it must respond to the plan in the next 60 days.

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