Meta Is Absolutely Not Threatening to Leave Europe

There has been reporting in the press that we are “threatening” to leave Europe because of the uncertainty over EU-US data transfers mechanisms. This is not true. 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. 

International data transfers underpin the global economy and support many of the services that are fundamental to our daily lives. For many years, the legal framework supporting the transfer of data across the Atlantic has faced severe disruption. The Safe Harbour Agreement was struck down by the European Court of Justice in 2015. Last summer Privacy Shield, which was used by more than 5,000 companies on both sides of the Atlantic, was also invalidated by the European Court of Justice. These decisions have been made based on a conflict between EU and US laws over the protection of data. We want to see the fundamental rights of EU users protected, and we want the internet to continue to operate as it was intended: without friction, in compliance with applicable laws — but not confined by national borders.

Businesses need clear, global rules to protect transatlantic data flows over the long term and, like other companies across a wide range of industries, we are closely monitoring the potential impact to the millions of people and businesses who use our services as these developments progress. 

Like other international and European businesses, brands and trade organisations, we hope to see continued progress in negotiations for a Privacy Shield replacement to protect transatlantic data transfers, ensure robust privacy protections and keep global communities, economies, businesses and families connected.