It’s the little rumor that goes up: Facebook (Meta) could close its activities in Europe! At the origin of this commotion, there is the financial report that Meta transmitted a few days ago to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), the “policeman of the American stock market”. On paper, the matter is serious: Meta thus suggests that it may no longer be able to provide its services in the future. ” the most importants “ to European users.
The reason for such a decision (still largely hypothetical)? Zuckerberg no longer wants European GDPR rules that prevent his US servers from processing data from European Facebook and Instagram users. The termination of the Privacy Shield in 2020 put an end to the framework that until now regulated data transfers between the EU and the United States. For Facebook, this is a small disaster insofar as Zuckerberg’s company lives from the processing and resale of user data to third-party companies.
However, Meta’s boasting in the SEC report deserves to be taken with the necessary perspective. Facebook is starting to lose users and no longer earns as much money on the iOS/iPadOS platforms, platforms that it can no longer “monetize” as before since the introduction of an anti-tracking system. Also, the big Metavers project isn’t planned for the medium term, and in the meantime, Meta is already sinking billions of dollars into VR… billions that fall into the loss category for now. All this in a context of increased surveillance by anti-trust authorities and after multiple scandals affecting private data (Cambridge Analytica).
In short, given the current rather degraded situation of Meta, there is virtually zero chance that GAFAM will move from threats to action. Considering what happened after the last earnings release (20% drop in the stock market), a withdrawal of Facebook from the European market would undoubtedly have devastating consequences on the share price, and would lead to a monumental loss of confidence on the part of investors. The “threat” suddenly bluffs in the end.