Facebook to Move UK Users to US Agreement
As the EU strengthens its privacy laws, the world’s largest social media platform plans to shift UK users to American terms.
Facebook will shift its entire UK user base into user agreements with its corporate headquarters in California, ending its current relationship with Facebook’s Irish unit and placing them out of reach of European privacy laws.
The move was initially reported by sources speaking with Reuters, with Facebook later confirming the details.
“Like other companies, Facebook has had to make changes to respond to Brexit and will be transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for UK users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc,” the company’s UK arm said. “There will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the UK.”
UK users will continue to be subject to UK privacy law, which currently mirrors the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), though it will no longer be governed by Facebook’s office in Dublin. The move comes on the heels of the EU’s announcement of stricter regulations for tech “gatekeepers” and how they handle data.
EU privacy law is currently among the world’s strictest, giving users a greater degree of control over what how much of their data they allow companies to access. US law favours the platforms themselves to a greater extent, with the 2018 US Cloud Act having made it easier for the US government to share companies’ data with UK law enforcement.
While the US government has recently launched antitrust lawsuits against big tech companies, lobbyists in the industry expect that incoming tech regulations will be more favourable to tech giants than those currently levied by the UK and EU.
The UK is also introducing new measures calling for heavy fines on social media platforms that fail to adequately curb harmful content, with the potential to block such platforms from being accessed in the UK if they refuse to comply.