Meta’s threats to leave the EU by taking Facebook and Instagram away from Europeans because it doesn’t like the bloc’s data protection law has been described as a “four-act comedy”.
Jess Lehrich, co-founder of Accountable Tech, which fights to reform the “existential threat social media companies pose”, stirred hundreds of reactions as he exposed how the parent company of the two popular platforms is actually doing as it sent warnings to Europe.
It comes after, earlier this week, the tech giant said in its annual report that it may take away some of its products in Europe if the EU rules are implemented against sending data back to the US, according to Insider.
“If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe,” Meta said in its report.
European leaders react as Meta stock drops
But Axel Voss, a member of the European Parliament, said the company “cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards.”
“Leaving the EU would be their loss,” Voss said in a tweet.
Two top German and French politicians also reacted to Meta’s threats.
German economy minister Robert Habeck said he has lived without Facebook and Twitter for four years after he was hacked, and “life has been fantastic”.
“I can confirm that life is very good without Facebook and that we would live very well without Facebook,” French finance minister Bruno Le Maire added, according to Bloomberg.
To top it all off, Meta’s stock hit a 52-week low, reporting earnings filled with danger last week, MarketWatch has reported.
Meta denies plans to leave EU
Meanwhile, Meta appeared to backtrack on its threats by saying they are “not wanting or threatening to leave Europe and any reporting that implies we do is simply not true”.
A statement released by the giant read: “Like all publicly-traded companies, we are legally required to disclose material risks to our investors. Last week, as we have done in our previous four financial quarters, we disclosed that continuing uncertainty over EU-US data transfers mechanisms poses a threat to our ability to serve European consumers and operate our business in Europe.
“We have absolutely no desire to withdraw from Europe; of course we don’t. But the simple reality is that Meta, like many other businesses, organisations and services, relies on data transfers between the EU and the US in order to operate our global services.
“We’re not alone. At least 70 other companies across a wide range of industries, including ten European businesses, have also raised the risks around data transfers in their earnings filings.”