According to Meta’s annual report for the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company may look to stop Instagram and Facebook from running in the EU.
The issue is due to Meta’s ability to process user data between countries as EU laws currently protect user privacy by keeping all data within the bloc's jurisdiction.
As Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has not made a new data-sharing agreement - it threatens in the report the scenario of taking the two services away from the continent.
"If we are unable to transfer data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are restricted from sharing data among our products and services, it could affect our ability to provide our services, the manner in which we provide our services or our ability to target ads," the statement reads.
Meta clarifies that it believes it will be able to reach new agreements in 2022, but if it does not, "we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe."
Previously, the transatlantic data transfer framework called Privacy Shield was being used as the legal basis to carry out data transfers from continents, but the treaty was annulled by the European Court of Justice in July 2020. This was due to data protection violations, but the EU and US did say they would work on a new or updated version of the treaty.
Vice President of Global Affairs at Meta, Nick Clegg told CityAM: "We urge regulators to adopt a proportionate and pragmatic approach to minimise disruption to the many thousands of businesses who, like Facebook, have been relying on these mechanisms in good faith to transfer data in a safe and secure way,”.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter