Instagram and Facebook Threaten to Leave Europe

Facebook and Instagram continue with their threats to leave the EU. This is because data transfer agreements between the US and EU have been made invalid. Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, requires the ability to transfer data back to the US in order to offer its services. Without this ability, Meta may not be able to operate fully in the EU. 

A recent video from TLDR News EU discusses some of the key reasons why Meta may end up leaving Europe. This would, of course, be devastating to the company as well as many individuals and businesses that rely on Meta services such as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. 

Many photo and video creatives use social media as a way to promote their services. Even with the recent change in Instagram's priorities (as it now prefers short video clips called Reels), the platform remains a powerful tool that can help build a business. 

Interestingly, one of the ways that Meta could overcome the data transfer issues between the US and the EU is by becoming a federate. As discussed in the video linked above, Meta would be required to set up servers within the EU and house most of the data locally. Only certain crucial data would be allowed to transfer back to the US; however, the majority of data would remain in the EU.  

Unfortunately, Meta doesn't seem to be interested in this idea, and this could potentially lead to a nasty fallout between Meta and the EU. 

As of right now, it's not clear what the outcome of this could be. However, this may end up being a bigger problem for Meta than it would be for residents in the EU. Sure, the short term may hurt, but it's likely that most users will find another platform or way to promote and communicate with their audience. 

Check out the video linked above for a detailed dive into this subject. 

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37 Comments
Drazen Cavar's picture

That'd be a blessing. Whoever cannot find among many alternative platform should not be on business at all, and both Facebook and Instagram long-time deserve to be kicked out instead of begged to stay. They are history and nothing clever and useful can ever be expected from them in future, only ugly attempts to abuse users' enthusiasm.

Patrick Hall's picture

I don't love these apps all the time and think both are having a huge effect on the degradation of our society BUT....

When it comes to marketing, finding models, showing your work, building a following, and actually connecting to the artists and brands themselves (sliding into those sweet sweet DMs), I don't know that anything is better than META platforms.

Remember the days of trying to find models to build up your own portfolio and having to resort to Model Mayhem? 90% of those models were all second or third tier and it was super difficult to find a top tier model at all in many cases. With Instagram, it's so easy to find interesting people (athletes, beautiful male and female models, and just talented people in general). Hashtags, location searches, nearby searches, tagged people from other friends' portfolios, it's actually probably the best platform for photographers for networking.

All that said, I can't imagine another set of platforms getting the number of users that many of these sites have. I'm also curious if this is strictly a META problem or if these laws also apply to dating sites, TikTok, maybe even blogs like Fstoppers. It seems like a overly bureaucratic issue that makes doing business world wide more of a pain.

Drazen Cavar's picture

But the fact that you claim how you cannot find alternative clearly shows how wrong and unnatural it is these times. If they would hopefully be sacked, that would be opportunity for many new services to emerge and hopefully bring you many more alternatives, all possibly better than this one.

Deleted Account's picture

Your information is a little dated, Patrick. Younger people don't really use Facebook anymore, and honestly, who can blame them, it's a cesspit.

Patrick Hall's picture

No but they use Instagram and Whatsapp. Living in Puerto Rico I feel like I now use Whatsapp more than Apple Messenger. Facebook is still king for community in niche groups though. I'm in so many guitar, retouching, photography, masterclass, investing groups on Facebook that just aren't as accessible anywhere else. Sure I have some Telegram, Signal, and Discord groups too but Facebook is still my favorite. Instagram is by far the best app for finding models and scouting locations to shoot. I think Meta is still the strongest company for social media.

chris bryant's picture

YES, get lost both.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for them. Or, at least will hurt them badly.

Jan Steinman's picture

I wish they'd leave the US!

Why is it that big companies with (assumedly) mature, adult executives throw a hissy fit whenever governments don't give them everything they want?

John Reed's picture

Meta has long abused the trust of users, and used its massive reach and wealth to manipulate governments to suit its owners interests. The EU should be able to call it’s bluff. US regulators seem to be closing in on them too, and Apple put security measures into IOS that clipped Meta’s reach. If Meta can be weakened sufficiently we should get something better to provide social media with ethics, or, if ethics are too much of a stretch, regulation with real teeth.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Oh... Meta is as bad as cigarettes. And I can admit I'm their smoker.

In all my hate to all the things FB/IG did and do to internet, I feel like requirement to store particular data on particular territory is really stupid. Moreover, it feels ancient.

OK, imagine it is on some physical drives somewhere in Ireland. Would it change something in case of anything? Would it change approach to storing/handling/sharing with others?

Patrick Hall's picture

I agree without knowing too many details here. It reminds me of the sanctions on Russian oil. Russia is just selling to India now who then sells to the EU. What would prevent a third party country from taking EU data and then pushing it to a fourth party USA?

Iosif Kallai's picture

Typical. Agree without knowing details. If it does not make any difference why just not comply with the rules? It is obvious that it makes a difference. Anyway we would be much better without them.

Patrick Hall's picture

How would you like to see the largest social media platforms perform if Meta is so bad? Would you prefer zero moderation like 4chan or 8Chan? Do you want more moderation and censorship? It's super easy to be critical of the largest companies in the world especially those who have perhaps one of the hardest jobs in the world but sometimes I'm not exactly sure how you can fix this. You either separate people and build platforms that aren't as inclusive (and consequently create echo chambers and less accessibility to everyone in a single space) or include everyone and struggle with massive difficult issues like TOS, acceptable forms of speech, censorship, bullying, etc etc.

Iosif Kallai's picture

I would not. Not interested. But that was not the point. You obiously missed it.

Iosif Kallai's picture

I hope you realize that facebook it is not a real place where people socialze. Want to socialize. Go out and meet real people and talk with them. If you are not on facebook then what? Nothing. Don't try to present facebook like some warrior for free speech.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Because the rules are stupid and expensive. Managing that infrastructure within one state is complicated. Managing that across several continents is a hell. For which you will pay with watching more ads and more sophisticated feed to fit more ads into it.

Again. Imagine all data is in Ireland. Multi-tens-of-millions project of move of all European FB users happened. All regulators are happy. What next? Will it prevent sale of your personal data to some kind of Cambridge Analytica. Will it stop bot farms profiting from algorithm abuse? If that happens, what EU regulators will do? Switch off electricity in FB data center to protect your data?

Iosif Kallai's picture

You are not entitled to decide if the rules are bad or good . We have many examples of rles that somebody thinks are bad but that dos not mean that we do not have to follow them . It is just your opinion and opinion are just that everibody has an opinion . You have to follow the rules. You don't like it change it. Can't change it you can go . Facebook is not vital to anything in real life

Alexander Petrenko's picture

I'm perfectly entitled to decide if a rule is good or bad. If it is bad enough, I'm entitled to to do my best to get rid of it and (may be) establish the new ones.

Rules are set by humans and can be changed by humans.

Iosif Kallai's picture

Until you change the rules you have to follow them and just because you say that are bad that is not necesarily the truth.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

We are arguing about non-existent thing…

Iosif Kallai's picture

You are arguing. I said everibody should follow the rules and facebook is not essential for anything. No arguing here.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

It’s not a rule that exists…

Iosif Kallai's picture

Let's agree to disagree. I know you want to have the last word. I hope all the so called social sites from US are gone. We do not need them . Also this is my last post I am not interested in your answer. You are trolling.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Will I?

Edward BIake's picture

Omg Europe, luckyyyy!

Mutley Dastardly's picture

I'd love them to leave Europe. And i'm proud to support nyob.eu - and i'm proud to have provided ammo against them through the privacy-protecting agencies in Belgium. I'll continu to fight against all social media that don't respect our privacy until my last breath. And we do hope the EU knows that TikTok is even worse - it's in chinese hand - giving info to the Chinese military and providing them with a channel full of propangda and fake news!

Edison Wrzosek's picture

Oh please, leave!!! You’ll be doing the EU population a MONUMENTAL favour!!! While you’re at it, just shut down and be gone already, and take that parasite TikTok with you, will do all of humanity a favour then!!

miha zero's picture

Europeans will gladly see you go META. Leave and block us, as in dont track us, look at us, think about us anymore. We call your bluff.

Tom Reichner's picture

I actually really like Instagram.

I live in the United States, and use Instagram to communicate with other wildlife photographers all around the world. It is the easiest and quickest way to speak directly with someone who tool a photo that I see online and want to know more about.

Because of Instagram, I have learned a lot about photographing Stellar's Eiders in Norway, White-billed Capercaille in various parts of Scandinavia, Black Grouse in Finland, and wild Hares in Scotland. And I can readily have conversations with the photographers who see and photograph these species on a regular basis.

If Instagram leaves Europe, it will be more difficult and time consuming for me to find hobbyist wildlife photographers to share all of their knowledge with me.

Deleted Account's picture

I use it because I have a sunk cost and an established audience. But I have no particular feelings for it, and it would make no difference to my life if it vanished.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

Hop on VERO, thank me later 👍🏻

Tom Reichner's picture

I've already looked into VERO. I really like the mindset behind it, but there simply aren't enough wildlife photographers on there yet.

Once it gets as massive a membership as Instagram has, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide, and with dozens and dozens of wildlife photographers in every dinky small town all across the United States, then it will be very useful for my purposes.

I mean, if I want to find a dozen different people who have photographed the Eastern Collared Lizards in Lawton, Oklahoma, I can do so easily on Instagram, but I can't yet do it on VERO. If I want to find several wildlife photographers who have recently photographed Sonoran Green Toads near Yuma, Arizona, I can find them on Instagram, but not yet on VERO. Etc., etc., etc.

Once VERO becomes as massive a worldwide entity as Instagram is, then it will be great! But until then it just doesn't seem to be as useful as Instagram is, for my very specific research purposes.

Patrick Hall's picture

I'm always curious to see how new platforms like Vero will pan out. Any platform needs wide adoption to become a really useful resource. And then there is always the "we don't monetize your feed or sell your info" but at some point they need to pay the bills and become profitable. Look at what Netflix is doing with ads now.

Tom Reichner's picture

You summed the issue up quite well. If a platform isn't HUGE, with hundreds of millions of users actively posting regularly, then it doesn't have the information that one needs. But when it gets so huge, it needs to generate substantial income in order to keep going. Plus, once it gets huge enough to be useful, a larger profit-driven corporation is going to want to buy it and offer hundreds of millions of dollars for it. Can't blame anybody for accepting such an offer, can you?

William Faucher's picture

Don't threaten me with a good time!

Paul Trantow's picture

Europeans: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"

chris bryant's picture

We won't, we'll leave it open for the Americans.