Facebook has threatened to pack up its toys and go home if European regulators don’t back down and let the social network get its own way.
In a court filing in Dublin, Facebook said that a decision by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) would force the company to pull up stakes and leave the 410 million people who use Facebook and photo-sharing service Instagram in the lurch.
If the decision is upheld, “it is not clear to [Facebook] how, in those circumstances, it could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU,” Yvonne Cunnane, who is Facebook Ireland’s head of data protection and associate general counsel, wrote in a sworn affidavit.
Cunnane also pointed out that Facebook was given just three weeks to answer to the decision, a period that is “manifestly inadequate,” adding that Facebook wasn’t contacted about the inquiry prior to judgment being handed down.
She also raised concerns about the decision being made “solely” by Helen Dixon, Ireland’s data protection commissioner.
“The fact one person is responsible for the entire process is relevant to [Facebook’s] concerns, in respect of the inadequacy of the investigative process engaged in and independence of the ultimate decision-making process,” Cunnane wrote.
Cunnane also complained that Facebook is being singled out, noting no other big tech company using similar methods to transfer data to the U.S. from the EU is under the same scrutiny.
Besides threatening to close down Facebook and Instagram completely, Cunnane also pointed out that Facebook is an important tool for the freedom of expression of its 410 million EU users — it also reportedly generated €208 billion in sales for companies who use the platforms.
However, privacy experts are saying that But Facebook’s ultimatum is little more than an empty threat.
“The idea that Facebook would withdraw from the European market is absurd brinksmanship that I don’t think anyone truly believes,” Michael Veale, a technology policy researcher at University College London said.
Well, we guess it’s going to be one long waiting game!
Photo: PixieMe – stock.adobe.com