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.
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I have no doubt that FB withdrawing from Europe overnight would initially cause howls among certain members if the public across the EU, however – think of how much our societies could get back? Normal, non-polarized discourse, reliable Journalism, articles that are written for people with attention spans longer than 10 minute. Remember when newspaper journalism wasn’t a race to the bottom sh!tshow like it is now? I do – it started getting crappy around 10 years ago when facebook got big enough that it began hoovering up all of the ad revenue,of traditional news outlets, leaving them with little to no income. We could remove the divisiveness and polarization in our societies by removing FB, as it is the main source for most of that misinformation (think conspiracy theories and nonsense driving the political problems seen across the western world). If Facebook does decide to withdraw from the EU, I personally will not miss it for a second.
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