If Your Business Relies Heavily on Facebook, You'll Want to Keep an Eye on This

Meta threatened to pull out of Europe over possible regulations.

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If your business relies heavily on marketing or sales through Facebook or Instagram, you might want to start diversifying your marketing channels.

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Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, said recently that it could shut down the two popular social media sites in Europe if it is not allowed to continue transferring user data back to the U.S., where the company is headquartered.

The company's annual report said, "If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs (standard contractual clauses) or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe."

That grave announcement came after regulators in Europe began drawing up legislation that would impact how EU citizens' data gets transferred.

Earlier this month, Statista data revealed more people in Europe are using Facebook than ever before. In total, 427 million monthly active users access the site in the region. From the fourth quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2021, Facebook's monthly active European users boomed by 61 percent.

Those 427 million users are potential customers who can see ads and content from businesses. Moreover, as of last October, 28.2 million people in the United Kingdom were using Instagram, which launched Instagram Shopping in 2020. Users can shop from brands directly through the app, which makes advertising on Instagram even more appealing to small businesses.

Don't lose hope just yet, however, as lawmakers may put up a fight if Meta ever did try to leave. Parliament's Axel Voss tweeted in response, "I have always called for an alternative to the EU US #privacyshield to find a balanced agreement on data exchange + always called for #GDPR flexibility. However, #META cannot just blackmail the EU into giving up its data protection standards, leaving the EU would be their loss."