American TikTokers have been grappling with the existential (in app terms) question of what they’d do if the app was banned. Now imagine the rumpus if Facebook and Instagram were suddenly unavailable across the whole of Europe.
It could happen.
Well, Facebook is claiming that it could happen, as part of its fightback against a recent decision by the Irish Data Protection Commission – the regulator that oversees Facebook in Europe – that the social network must stop sending user data to the US.
Vice has the scoop on a new filing by Facebook Ireland’s head of data protection and associate general counsel Yvonne Cunnane, claiming that if the decision isn’t overturned “it is not clear to the Applicant how, in those circumstances, it could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU”.
For Facebook alone, that would mean pulling the plug for 410 million monthly active users in Europe, as well as for 25m businesses. That said, Facebook’s spokesperson stressed that “Facebook is not threatening to withdraw from Europe” – its goal here is to accuse the ruling of making its operation in the EU impossible.